Estimation of rainfall fields using commercial microwave communication networks of variable density

Artem Zinevich, Pinhas Alpert, Hagit Messer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of commercial microwave radio networks which are a part of cellular communication infrastructure for mapping of the near-the-ground rainfall is challenging for many reasons: the network geometry in space is irregular, the distribution of links by frequencies and polarizations is inhomogeneous, and measurements of rain-induced attenuation are distorted by quantization. A non-linear tomographic model over a variable density grid is formulated, and its applicability and performance limits are studied by means of a simulated experiment using a model of a real microwave network. It is shown that the proposed technique is capable to accurately measure integrated near-the-ground rainfall amounts over the area of 3200 km2 with a bias smaller than 10%. In urban area, where the density of microwave links is high, the average correlation in space between the simulated model and reconstructed rainfall fields reaches 0.89 over the variable density grid with average cell size of 5.7 km2 and 0.74 when interpolated into the rectangular grid with pixel size 0.775 × 0.775 km2, for the quantization interval of 0.1 dB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1470-1480
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We deeply thank Y. Eisenberg, Y. Dagan, S. Mouallem and H. Pistiner (Cellcom), A. Shilva and E. Moshiev (Pelephone) for their cooperation and providing the microwave data, A. Arie (Meteo-Tech), A. Stupp (Tel-Aviv University) and H. Kutiel (Haifa University) for radar data. Special thanks to Oren Goldshtein for his useful comments. This research was funded in part by the Yeshaya Horowitz Association and the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. The authors are grateful to Hidde Leijnse and an anonymous reviewer for their comments and suggestions that helped us to improve an early version of the paper.


  • Backhaul
  • Link
  • Microwave
  • Rainfall
  • Tomography


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