The potential of cellular network infrastructures for sudden rainfall monitoring in dry climate regions

N. David, P. Alpert, H. Messer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring of precipitation and in particular sudden rain, in rural dry climate regions, is a subject of great significance in several weather related processes such as soil erosion, flash flooding, triggering epidemics and more. The rainfall monitoring facilities in these regions and as a result precipitation data are, however, commonly, severely lacking. As was recently shown, cellular networks infrastructures supply high resolution precipitation measurements at ground level while often being situated in dry areas, covering large parts of these climatic zones. The potential found in these systems to provide early monitoring and essential precipitation information, directly from arid regions, based on standard measurements of commercial microwave links, is exemplified here over the Negev and the Southern Judean desert, South Israel.We present the results of two different rainfall events occurred in these regions. It is shown that the microwave system measured precipitation between at least 50. min (in case 1) and at least 1. h and 40. min (in case 2) before each of the sparse rain gauges. During each case, the radar system, located relatively far from the arid sites, provided measurements from heights of at least 1500. m and 2000. m above surface, respectively. A third case study demonstrates a relative advantage of microwave links to measure precipitation intensity with respect to the radar system, over an area of complex topography located in northeastern Israel, which is relatively far (~. 150. km) from the radar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Research
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 173/08 ). This work was also supported by a grant from the Yeshaya Horowitz Association, Jerusalem .


  • Dry climate regions
  • Microwave links
  • Rainfall


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