Rainfall measurement from the opportunistic use of an Earth–space link in the Ku band
Abstract. The present study deals with the development of a low-cost microwave device devoted to the measurement of average rain rates observed along Earth–satellite links, the latter being characterized by a tropospheric path length of a few kilometres. The ground-based power measurements, which are made using the Ku-band television transmissions from several different geostationary satellites, are based on the principle that the atmospheric attenuation produced by rain encountered along each transmission path can be used to determine the path-averaged rain rate. This kind of device could be very useful in hilly areas where radar data are not available or in urban areas where such devices could be directly placed in homes by using residential TV antenna.
The major difficulty encountered with this technique is that of retrieving rainfall characteristics in the presence of many other causes of received signal fluctuation, produced by atmospheric scintillation, variations in atmospheric composition (water vapour concentration, cloud water content) or satellite transmission parameters (variations in emitted power, satellite pointing). In order to conduct a feasibility study with such a device, a measurement campaign was carried out over a period of five months close to Paris.
The present paper proposes an algorithm based on an artificial neural network, used to identify dry and rainy periods and to model received signal variability resulting from effects not related to rain. When the altitude of the rain layer is taken into account, the rain attenuation can be inverted to obtain the path-averaged rain rate. The rainfall rates obtained from this process are compared with co-located rain gauges and radar measurements taken throughout the full duration of the campaign, and the most significant rainfall events are analysed.