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Assessing uncertainties in rainfall maps from cellular communication networks

TitleAssessing uncertainties in rainfall maps from cellular communication networks
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRios-Gaona MF, Overeem A, Uijlenhoet R, Leijnse H, Overeem A
Conference NameDailyMeteo.org/2014
Date Published06/2014
PublisherFaculty of Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade
Conference LocationBelgrade
Abstract

Commercial cellular communication networks have been recently used in country-wide rainfall-map retrievals. Rainfall is the main source of attenuation in the electromagnetic signals that travel from one telephone tower to another, across the network. If the received power is measured at one end of a microwave link, the path-averaged rainfall intensity can be retrieved. The use of microwave link networks is a step further in the run for accurate rainfall estimates, given the large amount of information they can potentially collect. The aim of this work is to identify and quantify the sources of uncertainty present in rainfall maps retrieved from commercial microwave link networks. We used rainfall estimates, from microwave link data, to interpolate rainfall maps for the entire land surface of The Netherlands. These interpolated rainfall maps were compared to gauge-adjusted actual rainfall fields considered as ground-truth; thus, the uncertainties could be quantified. The Ordinary-Kriging (OK) was the methodology to interpolate the rainfall maps. We based our uncertainty analysis in four features that mainly define the applicability of commercial microwave link networks in rainfall-map retrievals: the spatial density of the network; the time availability of the microwave link data (or attenuation measurements); the interpolation methodology; and the intrinsic aspects proper of the measurement process (for instance, wet antenna effect, sampling interval of the measurements, wet/dry period classification, drop size distribution, multi-path propagation). The results showed that it is more important to have continuous registries of microwave link data than a microwave link network with higher degree of spatial density.

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