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L. BRENIG - Physics Departement. University of Brussels (ULB). Belgium
E. ZAADY - Agriculture Research Organization. Gilat Research Center. Israel
J. VIGO-AGUIAR - Department of Applied Mathematics and Modelling. University of Salamanca. Spain.
A. KARNIELI -  he Remote Sensing Laboratory. J.Blaustein Institute. Ben Gurion University. Israel.
R. FOVELL - Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). USA.
Sh. ARBEL - Soil Erosion Research Station. Ministry of Agriculture. Israel.
I. AL BAZ - InWent-Capacity Building International. EMWater. Germany and Jordan.
Z.Y. OFFER - Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics. J.Blaustein Institute. Ben Gurion University. Israel.

We report progresses made by our group in the elaboration of a weather engineering technology for generating clouds and rainfalls in specific arid and semi-arid sub-tropical regions. In these regions, large amount of humidity can be present in the low atmosphere in Spring and Summer seasons without leading to cloud formation. This results from a too large stability of the atmosphere that inhibits thermal convection. The Geshem technology we are developing is based on a large solar absorbing artificial black surface of area of about 10-12 km2 set at the ground. The upward heat flux produced by this artificial heat island dilates the lower humid air layers flowing over the artificial surface. Rainfalls could be triggered by this system on sunny days during which the thermal convection induced by the artificial solar captor can overcome the atmospheric stability. The dominant wind would carry the resulting clouds over an area behind the solar absorber that can extend up to 20-40 km far from the downwind edge of the solar absorber. We are studying the physical feasibility of the technique by computer simulations based on mesoscale atmospheric circulation models, theoretical models and the large amount of data gathered the recent years on numerous existing natural or inadvertent heat islands such as Urban Heat Islands (UHI) due to cities or dark natural ground areas located at sub-tropical and tropical latitudes. In case of proven feasibility, the Geshem system together with appropriate water management and adapted agriculture methods could provide a new approach for locally fighting against desertification by converting small mesoscale arid areas into farming or forest zones.

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CLOUD FORMATION AND RAINFALLS INDUCED BY AN ARTIFICIAL SOLAR SETTING: A WEATHER ENGINEERING PROJECT FOR FIGHTING ARIDITY

L. BRENIG - Physics Departement. University of Brussels (ULB). Belgium
E. ZAADY - Agriculture Research Organization. Gilat Research Center. Israel
J. VIGO-AGUIAR - Department of Applied Mathematics and Modelling. University of Salamanca. Spain.
A. KARNIELI -  he Remote Sensing Laboratory. J.Blaustein Institute. Ben Gurion University. Israel.
R. FOVELL - Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). USA.
Sh. ARBEL - Soil Erosion Research Station. Ministry of Agriculture. Israel.
I. AL BAZ - InWent-Capacity Building International. EMWater. Germany and Jordan.
Z.Y. OFFER - Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics. J.Blaustein Institute. Ben Gurion University. Israel.

CLOUD FORMATION AND RAINFALLS INDUCED BY AN ARTIFICIAL SOLAR SETTING: A WEATHER ENGINEERING PROJECT FOR FIGHTING ARIDITY

We report progresses made by our group in the elaboration of a weather engineering technology for generating clouds and rainfalls in specific arid and semi-arid sub-tropical regions. In these regions, large amount of humidity can be present in the low atmosphere in Spring and Summer seasons without leading to cloud formation. This results from a too large stability of the atmosphere that inhibits thermal convection. The Geshem technology we are developing is based on a large solar absorbing artificial black surface of area of about 10-12 km2 set at the ground. The upward heat flux produced by this artificial heat island dilates the lower humid air layers flowing over the artificial surface. Rainfalls could be triggered by this system on sunny days during which the thermal convection induced by the artificial solar captor can overcome the atmospheric stability. The dominant wind would carry the resulting clouds over an area behind the solar absorber that can extend up to 20-40 km far from the downwind edge of the solar absorber. We are studying the physical feasibility of the technique by computer simulations based on mesoscale atmospheric circulation models, theoretical models and the large amount of data gathered the recent years on numerous existing natural or inadvertent heat islands such as Urban Heat Islands (UHI) due to cities or dark natural ground areas located at sub-tropical and tropical latitudes. In case of proven feasibility, the Geshem system together with appropriate water management and adapted agriculture methods could provide a new approach for locally fighting against desertification by converting small mesoscale arid areas into farming or forest zones.

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