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Characteristics of desert precipitation in the UAE derived from a ceilometer dataset

Airey, M. W. ORCID:, Nicoll, K. A. ORCID:, Harrison, R. G. ORCID: and Marlton, G. J. (2021) Characteristics of desert precipitation in the UAE derived from a ceilometer dataset. Atmosphere, 12 (10). 1245. ISSN 2073-4433

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/atmos12101245


Understanding rainfall in arid and water-scarce regions is central to the efficient use of water resources in agriculture, irrigation, and domestic food security. This work presents a new dataset with which to study precipitation processes in arid regions, utilising two years (2018–2020) of ceilometer observations made at Al Ain International Airport in the desert region of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the annual rainfall is 76 mm. Ceilometer data provide a novel method by which to study both the evolution of water droplets from the cloud base down to the surface and the local circumstances required for rain to successfully reach the surface. In this work, we explore how successful precipitation depends on the initial size of the droplets and the thermodynamic profile below the cloud. For 64 of the 105 rain events, the droplet diameters ranged from 0.60 to 3.75 mm, with a mean of 1.84 mm. We find that smaller droplets, higher cloud bases, reduced cloud depths, and colder cloud bases all act to prevent successful precipita-tion, instead yielding virga (28 out of the 105 rain generating events). We identify how these mul-tiple regional factors combine—specifically, we identify clouds deeper than 2.9 km, droplet di-ameters greater than 2 mm, and a midpoint below-cloud RH profile greater than 50%—to give successful rainfall, which may ultimately lead to more efficient rainfall enhancing measures, such as cloud seeding.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:100446


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