Record rain in the UAE achieved thanks to clouds seeding

If you are wondering why it rained so much this winter in the UAE, the answer might be more surprising of what you can possibly think. According to updates from the National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS)’s meteorologist and cloud seeding expert Sufian Farrah, as reported by The National, cloud seeding operations might have played a decisive role in this extraordinarily wet winter.

Annual rainfall in the UAE rarely exceeds 120 millimeters whereas the last 9 March 2016 alone we have witnessed a rainfall of 287 millimeters as reported by ArabianBusiness.

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Average weather statistics for Dubai. – Photo credit climateandweather.com

The aim of the 77 cloud seeding missions performed during the first three months of the year was to increase the chance of rain (even though the cloud seeding operation doesn’t necessarily makes it rain) and the quantity of rain falling on the UAE.

This is very important to replenish the water reserves both above ground (dams and channels) and underground,, sustaining the agriculture sector and reducing the overall need of producing sweet water from the sea for daily use.

Basically the clouds are “injected” with salt crystals by mall planes which fly above the clouds. Not all the clouds are targeted since the NCMS cloud seeding programme focuses on mature clouds that have the right configuration to generate rain.

“We covered most of the available clouds in the country, so the rainfall increased. Even if we didn’t carry out any operations it would rain, but the objective of cloud seeding is rain enhancement, and most of the clouds that are subject to seeding will generate rain,” he is quoted saying.

National Center of Meteorology & Seismology regularly publishes interesting videos and photos like the following.

 

Emaar’s new Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour unveiled

Finally it has been made official. Emaar Properties, one of the most appreciated developers in Dubai with several successful projects already completed like The Greens, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the whole Downtown neighborhood, is going to beat his own records.  After having developed the current tallest building in the world, it has recently unveiled what could be the world’s new tallest tower.

Even though the official height still has to be disclosed, Emaar management has confirmed that it will be a “notch taller than Burj Khalifa” that with its 828 meters mesmerizes thousands and thousands of visitors every day.

The tower is expected to cost 1 billion USD and will face competition from the 1,000 meter high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah (KSA), currently under construction, for the “tallest building in the world” title.

The tower was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who has designed masterpieces of architecture like the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro or Athen’s Olympic Sports Complex, and was inspired by the Islamic minaret structure as well as a lily bud.

Emaar New Creek Tower

“Inspired by a Nation. designed for the World” is Emaar motto for the challenging Project – Photos from Emaar website.

The tower is going to be built as part of a wider Project knows as Dubai Creek Harbour, a mixed use development located in proximity to Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and its flamingos and many species of waterbirds.

The aim of the 6 sq km development was very well explained by Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties:

“With The Tower, we are delivering a compelling destination that will add long-term economic value to Dubai and the UAE. It will also position Dubai Creek Harbour as one of the most desired residential, leisure and touristic attractions, providing visitors and residents with a modern, luxurious and sustainable environment in which to live, work, learn and entertain.”

The Tower and the Project are presented in the recently released videos prepared by Emaar.

 

The sky is the limit.

 

Dubai EXPO2020 theme pavilion design competition winners revealed

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee, in partnership with leading property developer Emaar Properties, have revealed the winners of one of the world’s most prestigious architectural competitions, to design the theme pavilions for Expo 2020.

The committee sought ideas for the three theme pavilions titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, which form a central part of EXPO 2020’s theme that is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

The winning design for the Opportunity Pavilion was submitted by Bjarke Ingels Group, a group of architects, designers, builders and thinkers based in Copenhagen and New York. Their design philosophy reflects a belief that contemporary urban life is a result of the confluence of cultural exchange, global economic trends and communication technologies as it could be read on the Expo 2020 official website.

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Bjarke Ingels Group winning design for Opportunity Pavilion. Photo from Emirates24/7

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Bjarke Ingels Group winning design for Opportunity Pavilion. Photo from Emirates24/7

 

The press release issued by Expo 2020 official website and reported by the major local newspapers, continues saying that Foster + Partners, the internationally renowned practice, based in London, submitted the winning proposal for the Mobility Pavilion. Their design drew on nearly four decades of pioneering designs including Dubai’s The Index building, and the master plan for Masdar City.

Expo-2020-theme-pavilion mobility - foster + partners

Foster + Partners winning design for Dubai Expo2020 Mobility Pavillion. Photo from ArabianBusiness.com

The winning design for the Sustainability Pavilion, which will become a long term ‘cluster’ centre promoting innovative technologies, was submitted by Grimshaw Architects. The firm designed the Eden project in Cornwall, UK, and is a leader in the field of sustainable architecture.

Expo-2020-Sustainability-Theme-Winner-is-Grimshaw-Particulars

Grimshaw Architects winning design for Sustainability Pavillion at Dubai Expo2020. Photo from Emirates24/7

Expo-2020-theme-pavilion sustainability - Grimshaw

Grimshaw Architects winning design for Sustainability Pavillion at Dubai Expo2020. Photo from ArabianBusiness

“Expo 2020 will be a festival of human ingenuity. We hope that the nations and organisations that take part in Expo, and the millions who visit, will explore the power of connections across the spheres of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability”

“Our theme pavilions will play a central role in bringing this to life.”

said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Keep updated by visiting the official DUBAI EXPO2020 website.

Breakfast at Mozzo Centrale – Umm Suqeim 1 – Dubai

We have recently visited Mozzo Centrale, a nice Italian restaurant in Umm Suqeim, for a late breakfast.

It wasn’t the first time for us at Mozzo Centrale since we had lunch once before with a couple of friends and we remembered it to be decent.

When we arrived, we noticed the restaurant was unexpectedly empty. Other than the two of us, there were other 3 people sitting in the veranda. The waiter took quickly our order: a Londoner breakfast, a Salmon Benny, black coffee, a juice and a strawberry banana smoothie.

The drinks where quickly ready but for our surprise we saw the waiter going towards the only other table occupied. It was a hilarious scene with the waiter serving the drinks while the customers were saying “this isn’t our order”. The waiter replied “no, no this is your order, three people three drinks. Simple”.

We had to wave to the waiter to finally convince him that that was our order.

Mozzo Centrale Dubai

Mozzo Ristorante entrance view from the veranda.

 

The food arrived few instants later and was good in quantities and decent in quality. The salmon breakfast was alright and enjoyable. The Londoner one was instead not that great. I had issues with the beef bacon that was extremely fatty and hardly enjoyable.

Mozzo Centrale Londoner Breakfast

The Londoner breakfast in good in quantity but not really in quality. The beef bacon was very fatty and hardly enjoyable.

Salmon Benny at Mozzo Centrale

The Salmon breakfast was alright. Salmon in good quantity and quality.

 

Once we completed breakfast, we ordered a tiramisu to indulge our sweet tooth. It was really good, even though it would have been better with less cream, but however really enjoyable.

Tiramisu at Mozzo Centrale

Tiramisu was a good option. Too much cream for a tiramisu expert but not bad at all.

 

We paid 160 AED for two people for a decent breakfast. Reasonable price considering the quantity and quality of food received.

Next time we will try the pizza’s that looked inviting.

 

Revealed: Dubai Metro “Route 2020″extension works to begin soon

It is official, after months of statements, reassurances and postponements, we are finally there. Work on Route 2020, the 15km extension of Dubai Metro’s Red Line, will begin in the next few months, Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim Younus, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency revealed at Middle East Rail Conference on Tuesday.

“Work on Route 2020 will begin immediately after we award the tender, which will be within the next few months. The extension will be ready before Expo 2020”

The Route 2020 will pass through Discovery Gardens and Dubai Investment Park on its way to the venue of Expo 2020. Heading from Nakheel Harbour and Tower station, the route serve seven additional stations, 2 of which will be underground as also reported by Dubai Metro website. The newly served communities are inhabited by about 240,000 people and the project will not be only beneficial for those visiting the Expo 2020 area but also for the many residents living in the outskirts of the city. The journey from Dubai Marina area to the site of Expo will take 16 minutes and from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Expo will take about 1 hour.

But this is not the only news about the metro expansion. The red line is foreseen to be further extended to Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) and the green line will increase of almost 21 km from Al Jaddaf Station to Dubai Academic City passing by Ras Al Khor, International City and Silicon Oasis.

According to Mr.Younus, also the Dubai Tram will be extended by 5 km due to its popularity and success. Phase 2 of the Tram will serve iconic landmarks like Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah.

For those regularly using the Metro, it is evident of its success. Any given time of the day or the night, the metro is busy with people commuting to work or simply going to any of the well known landmarks like Mall of Emirates, Dubai Mall, Gold & Diamond Park and so on. I am personally not really convinced by the performance of the Tram but I noticed that it ranks in the top attractions to see in Dubai in many popular holidays websites.

Featured Image from KhaleejTimes, image in the article from Dubai Metro website.

ItaliAsian Fusion: Edamame & Black Beans spaghetti with salmon and seaweeds

In my most recent ItaliAsian Fusion I have combined the already known Edamame Spaghetti with Organic Black Bean Spaghetti I have picked up at Choithram shop in Al Wasl Road and seasoned them with smoked salmon and seaweeds.

Black Bean Spaghetti

I am a huge fan of pasta and I was nervous for the texture and the taste of this black beans spaghetti but I have to admit they turned out to be amazing. I dared to try this new line of “pasta” because of some astonishing benefits:

  • High in fibres: 22 grams per 100 grams of product
  • High in proteins: 46 grams per 100 grams of product
  • Low in sugars: just 5 grams per 100 grams
  • Rich in Iron and other minerals

Since this kind of pasta reminded me of  Japanese like flavours, I decided to add some of the Nori seaweed sheets I had at home (the ones usually used for sushi) to the recipe.

They taste like sea (of course) and are particularly rich in fibres and minerals.

I heated some olive oil in a pan, I added some garlic and parsley and let them brown a bit. Meanwhile I chopped the salmon and cut the Nori sheets in long stripes almost resembling thick spaghetti or fettuccine. I added the salmon first and once it had changed colour, I added the seaweeds.

The seaweeds are dry but highly hygroscopic, hence they absorb water from the other ingredients and become tender. Once the spaghetti were cooked (4 to 6 minutes the time required), I dried them and added them to the pan.

Mix all the ingredients together paying particular attention to the seaweeds that have the tendency to stick together instead of spreading around. Once mixed properly,  I served the spaghetti with salmon and seaweeds together with a generous amount of grated Grana Padano.

Black Bean Spaghetti with Salmon and Seaweed

Edamame & Black Bean Spaghetti with Nori seaweed, smoked salmon and Grana Padano

Construction news: more than 390 billion USD projects ongoing in Dubai

The total value of projects under construction in Dubai equates to $53.6 billion, with a further $337.2 billion in the planning stage.  These are significant amounts of investment for most mature economies, but for an emerging market such as Dubai, they are extraordinary figures which provide evidence of Dubai’s ambition to diversify its economy away from oil-centered revenues. In this way we can summarize the new report “The Dubai Construction Pulse” published by Deloitte and MEED Projects, which analyses the construction market across a range of sectors.

Analyzing the data provided in the report, it is evident that the majority of the construction projects currently ongoing in the Emirate are related to residential and hospitality sectors with a 60% of the total value involved while 65% of the planned projects fall within the mixed use developments, most probably because of the EXPO 2020’s requirements.

Dubai Construction Projects Status

“Despite regional security concerns and wider macro-economic turbulence, Dubai continues at pace with significant project awards in Q1 2016, including the Palm Gateway Towers, Phase II of the Atlantis Resort and Dubai Creek Harbour to name but three”, said Ben Hughes, director at Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited, regulated by the Dubai International Financial Center.

Previously stalled projects have been resurrected, but new project awards have reduced since 2014-2015 as a result of regional economic uncertainty

The conclusions of the report are particularly interesting and are here below summirized.

“The current concerns relating to low oil prices and diminished market sentiment has clearly had a short term impact. Whilst the ongoing geo-political factors equally have profound effects, the fact that many Governments across the region, not least the Government of Dubai, are continuing to spend on infrastructure and other strategic developments suggests that they foresee the oil price issue and political turmoil as a temporary one.

[…] The mere action of building a project and expecting the demand to be there no longer applies, as the fundamental cost basis for these projects remains volatile and competitive. Focusing on factors such as affordability, differentiation and quality are going to be increasingly important factors, and it is hoped that such considerations will ultimately underpin the rationale for conceiving projects.

Simply constructing the tallest or most unique project no longer provides the impact it once did, so diversifying the offer by promoting a world class standard appears to be the mantra moving forwards.

[…] What is interesting is the connectedness of Dubai as an increasingly “smart city”, and […]  Dubai may even mature to the extent that it could surpass some of the more established cities across the world, such as London, Paris or New York, in terms of its level of sophistication and dedication to sustainability, smart city principles and ultimately success in delivering projects that are demand driven and profitable.”

Other than on “The Dubai Construction Pulse” website by Deloitte, the matter has been analyzed and reported by well done articles published on SaudiGazzette and Gulf Construction Online.

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