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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-28
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-28
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Feb 2020

18 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Atmospheric observations with E-band microwave links – challenges and opportunities

Martin Fencl1, Michal Dohnal1, Pavel Valtr2, Martin Grabner3, and Vojtěch Bareš1 Martin Fencl et al.
  • 1Department of Hydraulics and Hydrology, Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague 6, 166 29, Czech Republic
  • 2Department of Electromagnetic Field, Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague 6, 166 29, Czech Republic
  • 3Department of Frequency Engineering, Czech Metrology Institute, Brno, 638 00, Czech Republic

Abstract. Opportunistic sensing of rainfall and water vapor using commercial microwave links operated within cellular networks was conceived more than a decade ago. It has since been further investigated in numerous studies predominantly concentrating on the frequency region of 15–40 GHz. This manuscript provides the first evaluation of rainfall and water vapor sensing with microwave links operating at an E band (specifically, 71–76 GHz and 81–86 GHz), which are increasingly updating, and frequently replacing, older communication infrastructure. Attenuation-rainfall relations are investigated theoretically on drop size distribution data. Furthermore, quantitative rainfall estimates from six microwave links, operated within cellular backhaul, are compared with observed rainfall intensities. Finally, the capability to detect water vapor is demonstrated on the longest microwave link measuring 4.86 km in path length. The results show that E-band microwave links are by one order of magnitude more sensitive to rainfall than devices operating in the 15–40 GHz range and are thus able to observe even light rainfalls, a feat practically impossible to achieve previously. The E-band links are, however, substantially more affected by errors related to variable drop size distribution. Water vapor retrieval might be possible from long E band microwave links, nevertheless, the efficient separation of gaseous attenuation from other signal losses will be challenging in practice.

Martin Fencl et al.

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Martin Fencl et al.

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Data and code for the paper Atmospheric Observations with E-band Microwave Links – Challenges and Opportunities M. Fencl, M. Dohnal, and V. Bareš https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3632095

Model code and software

Data and code for the paper Atmospheric Observations with E-band Microwave Links – Challenges and Opportunities M. Fencl, M. Dohnal, and V. Bareš https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3632095

Martin Fencl et al.

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Short summary
Commercial microwave links operating at an E band are increasingly updating, and frequently replacing, older communication infrastructure. We show that E-band microwave links are able to observe even light rainfalls, a feat practically impossible to achieve by older 15–40 GHz devices. Furthermore, water vapor retrieval might be possible from long E band microwave links, nevertheless, the efficient separation of gaseous attenuation from other signal losses will be challenging in practice.
Commercial microwave links operating at an E band are increasingly updating, and frequently...
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