A measurement campaign to assess sources of error in microwave link rainfall estimation
by T.C. van Leth (Wageningen University & Research), A. Overeem (KNMI), H. Leijnse (KNMI), R. Uijlenhoet (Wageningen University & Research),
We present a measurement campaign to address several error sources associated with rainfall estimates from microwave links in cellular communication networks. The core of the experiment is provided by three co-located microwave links installed between two major buildings on opposite sides of the small town of Wageningen, approximately 2 km apart: a 38 GHz formerly commercial microwave link, as well as 26 and 38 GHz (dual-polarization) research microwave links. Transmitting and receiving antennas have been attached to masts installed on the roofs of the two buildings, about 30 m above the ground. This setup was complemented with an infrared large-aperture scintillometer, installed over the same path, as well as five laser disdrometers positioned at several locations along the path and an automated rain gauge. Temporal sampling of the received signals was performed at a rate of 20 Hz. The setup was monitored by time-lapse cameras to assess the state of the antennas as well as the atmosphere. The experiment was active between August 2014 and December 2015. Data from an existing automated weather station situated just outside Wageningen was further used to compare and to interpret the findings. In addition to presenting the experiment, we also conduct a preliminary global analysis and show several cases highlighting the different phenomena affecting received signal levels: rainfall, solid precipitation, temperature, fog, antenna wetting due to rain or dew, and clutter. We also briefly explore cases where several phenomena play a role. A rainfall intensity (R) – specific attenuation (k) relationship was derived from the disdrometer data. We find that a basic rainfall retrieval algorithm without corrections already provides a reasonable correlation to rainfall as measured by the disdrometers. However, there are strong systematic overestimations (factors of 1.2–2.1) which cannot be attributed to the R–k relationship. We observe attenuations in the order of 3 dB due to antenna wetting under fog or dew conditions. We also observe fluctuations of a similar magnitude related to changes in temperature. The response of different makes of microwave antennas to many of these phenomena is significantly different even under the exact same operating conditions and configurations.
Leth, T.C. van, A. Overeem, H. Leijnse and R. Uijlenhoet, A measurement campaign to assess sources of error in microwave link rainfall estimation