Rain Enhancement Operational Activity

Rain Enhancement - Operational Activity

Cloud seeding operations for rain enhancement is, as mentioned, one of the solutions of Mekorot has designed to increase the amount of water in Israel. These activities are performed by Rain Enhancement Division EMS Mekorot – a subsidiary of Mekorot. The Rain Enhancement Division combines an operational system with a sophisticated meteorological system, which receives meteorological data and meteorological images from satellites orbiting the earth. This information makes it possible to get an overall picture of the weather in the short and long term, over various distances. The meteorological radar system is based on software developed by EMS Mekorot. It detects the rainclouds coming into the area within a radius of 185 km from the operational center for these activities – Ben Gurion Airport. The images obtained present information in a convenient and useful manner that is processed in real time with respect to the height of the cloud and the intensity of the rain. The information facilitates accurate operations, command and control.


At the same time, the division operates a unique research aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with sensors that measure and collect data on the structure and composition of the rainclouds and the clouds with potential for rain, especially in the north of the country. The research flights contribute to a better understanding of the processes that occur in the incoming clouds that form in the north of the country. In addition, the flights enable rain enhancement efforts to be focused in areas and in the clouds with the maximum potential additional precipitation.

How does it work?

• Depending on atmospheric conditions obtained from radar images, the Rain Enhancement Division sows a substance in the clouds called "silver iodide" during the winter, between November and April.

• The substance facilitates consolidation of small droplets – that cannot fall to ground – with larger and heavier droplets. These drops resist the currents that arise in the cloud and fall to the ground as rain.

• The sowing operation is carried out by designated airplanes and furnaces. Burners are installed underneath the wings of seeding airplanes, scattering "silver iodide" crystals inside the clouds. A network of ground ovens, which are located at Mekorot’s sites in the north, simultaneously increase the sowing activity. The special ovens are operated automatically from the operational center at Ben Gurion Airport.

• The center is staffed, among other personnel, with radar scouts and technical staff. During the operational season it is staffed 24 hours a day, depending on the weather conditions.

•  All the data used in decision making and in monitoring environmental conditions are kept and sent for analysis and processing by research teams at leading universities.


EMS Mekorot set a record in the winters of 2012 and 2013 for the number of flight hours of cloud seeding for rain enhancement: In both winters, the company carried out cloud seeding sorties totaling 450 flight hours per season – far outperforming the annual average of 330 flight hours per season.
Mekorot aims to expand its capabilities in this field, in order to increase the available water in Israel. In this context, Mekorot is promoting extensive research in collaboration with many entities, including the Water Authority, institutions of higher education, the meteorological services and the hydrological services. The Rain Enhancement Division has recently been integrated with the work of a radar rain-system which is the most unique and innovative of its kind in Israel, and which is expected to further enhance the ability to detect rainclouds over the catchment area of the Sea of Galilee. 




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