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Prof. Murakami is a Designated Professor from the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University and a visiting scientist at the Japan Meteorological Research Institute (MRI). Masataka Murakami had also been a scientist in the Cloud Physics section of the Meteorological Research Institute, Japan Meteorological Agency since 1984, including the last 21 years as Section Head, and involved in cloud physics, precipitation systems and numerical modelling.

He served as a member of the International Commission on Clouds and Precipitation from 1992 to 2000.

Prof. Murakami is chair of American Meteorological Society (AMS) Planned and Inadvertent Weather Modification Committee, as well as a member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Expert Team on Weather Modification.

Project Brief:

“Advanced study on precipitation enhancement in arid and semi-arid regions”

Prof. Masataka Murakami’s project focuses on innovative algorithms and sensors dedicated to identifying the clouds most suitable for seeding and their frequency of occurrence.

Prof. Murakami’s project team intends to develop optimal seeding methods and new statistical evaluation methods to study the effects of long-term seeding through accurate numerical models.

Researchers from Nagoya University, the University of Tokyo and the Japan Meteorological Agency also contributed to this research project.

The observation data collected, including details on the seeding schemes and the algorithms for satellite data analysis will be made available to the public at the end of the study.

Research Progress:

Satellite data analysis over the UAE has long been subject to errors and uncertainties. To support the selection of the site candidates by the Japanese team, UAE National Center of Meteorology solar radiation and rain gauge data have been analyzed to map the occurrence frequency of potentially seedable clouds.

This occurrence frequency has been investigated in 2017 and validated against year-round ground-based observations at Al Ain Airport. The observation campaign was conducted from February 2017 through January 2018.

Models have also been tested over the UAE and land surface processes have been tuned to accurately reproduce cloud formation and precipitation developments over the desert and mountain areas.

In parallel, cloud chamber experiments have been conducted in Japan and properties of salt micro-powder, hygroscopic flare, AgI flare, hybrid flare particles have been investigated.

In addition, a 6-week aircraft observation campaign was carried out from August 22 to October 1, 2017. A Japanese King Air research aircraft flew 12,000 km from Japan to the UAE for in-situ measurements of seeded and unseeded clouds and analysis of the properties of atmospheric aerosols, in cooperation with NCM’s cloud seeding aircraft.

In the last year of the Japanese project and following the UAE flight campaign, the work focused on an assessment of seedability, evaluation of seeding effects, development of optimal seeding methods, and a new statistical evaluation method of long-term seeding effect.

This has been investigated using mainly numerical models, developed via laboratory experiments and validated against both in-situ and remote sensing observations.

Most of primary objectives of this project, i.e., the identification of clouds suitable for seeding and evaluation of their occurrence frequency, the characterization of seeding agents and their impacts on initial cloud microphysical structures, the year-round ground-based remote sensing observation and its data analysis, and aircraft observation during IOP and quality control of its data, have been completed.

The detailed analyses of aircraft observation data, such as microphysical structures of unseeded and seeded clouds and physico-chemical properties of background atmospheric aerosol, are underway as scheduled in the original plan.

Current work & next steps:

The Japanese team has been investigating major elements of cloud seeding like assessment of seedability, development of optimal seeding methods and evaluation of seeding effects.

A sophisticated numerical model dedicated to seeding experiments has also been developed.

Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation Integrated Microphysics Scheme is currently being coded and is expected to present simulation results by the very end of the project.

Using this sophisticated numerical model, seeding effects will be evaluated more accurately.

A more detailed analysis is now underway regarding diurnal variation of clouds and rainfall using multi-satellite measurements.

Detailed analysis of aircraft observations will be conducted and provided.

The aircraft observation provided three numerical modelling groups with the case study results of aircraft observation over the UAE for model validation and inter-model comparisons.

In addition, the Japanese team provided other awardees with aircraft observation data, to give them background required for their field campaigns over the UAE regions.


For more information on the project please visit:

Full Report - PDF document.