IAHS2022-461, updated on 22 Dec 2023
IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Rainfall monitoring using microwave links from cellular communication networks: potential for sub-Saharan Africa

Remko Uijlenhoet1, Aart Overeem2, Hidde Leijnse2, Arjan Droste3, and Linda Bogerd3
Remko Uijlenhoet et al.
  • 1Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Department of Water Management, Delft, Netherlands (r.uijlenhoet@tudelft.nl)
  • 2Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, R&D Observations and Data Technology, De Bilt, Netherlands (aart.overeem@knmi.nl)
  • 3Wageningen University & Research, Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen, Netherlands (linda.bogerd@wur.nl)

Microwave backhaul links from cellular communication networks provide a valuable “opportunistic” source of high-resolution space–time rainfall information, complementing traditional in situ measurement devices (rain gauges, disdrometers) and remote sensors (weather radars, satellites). Over the past decade, a growing community of researchers has developed, in close collaboration with mobile network operators, retrieval algorithms to convert the raw microwave link signals, stored operationally by their network management systems, to quantitative precipitation estimates.

Operational meteorological and hydrological services as well as private consulting firms are showing an increased interest in using this complementary source of rainfall information to improve the products and services they provide to end users from different sectors, from water management and weather prediction to agriculture and traffic control. The greatest potential of these opportunistic environmental sensors lies in those geographical areas over the land surface of the Earth where the densities of traditional rainfall measurement devices are low: mountainous and to a lesser extent urban areas, but most importantly low- and middle-income countries.

In this presentation we will review the state of the art of opportunistic rainfall monitoring using commercial microwave links, with special reference to its potential and challenges for applications in sub-Saharan Africa.

How to cite: Uijlenhoet, R., Overeem, A., Leijnse, H., Droste, A., and Bogerd, L.: Rainfall monitoring using microwave links from cellular communication networks: potential for sub-Saharan Africa, IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-461, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-461, 2022.