Analyzing the ability to reconstruct the moisture field using commercial microwave network data

N. David, O. Sendik, Y. Rubin, H. Messer, H. O. Gao, D. Rostkier-Edelstein, P. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The atmospheric greenhouse effect and the hydrological cycle of Earth are key components enabling the planet to support life. Water vapor is a central element in both of these, accounting for approximately half of the present day greenhouse effect, and comprising the most important gaseous source of atmospheric infrared opacity. Specifically, it functions as the fuel for the development of convective storm clouds. This parameter, however, is considered one of the least studied due to the limitations of conventional monitoring instruments. The current predominate monitoring tools are humidity gauges and satellites which suffer from a lack of spatial representativeness and difficulties in measuring at ground level altitudes, respectively. This study demonstrates the potential to reconstruct the 2-Dimensional humidity field using commercial microwave links which form the infrastructure for data transmission in cellular networks. Water vapor attenuates the waves transmitted by the system and thus these microwave links can potentially form as a virtual network for monitoring the humidity field. The results show a correlation of between 0.79 and 0.93 with root mean square differences ranging from 1.78 to 2.92 g/m 3 between conventional humidity gauges and the humidity estimates calculated for the same points in space by the proposed technology. The results obtained are the first to point out the improved performance of humidity measurements when using data from multiple microwave links. These outcomes indicate the tremendous potential of this novel approach for improving the initialization of meteorological forecasting models thus potentially improving the ability to cope with the dangers associated with extreme weather.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Research
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


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