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Opportunistic Sensing of Rain in Germany

Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Stuttgart recently presented a new method of high-resolution rain monitoring in Germany. The Idea is based on combining for the first time two opportunistic sensors (that is – devices that are not meant to measure rain). The researchers took data from 4000 commercial microwave links used for cellular communication with around 16,000 personal weather stations and were able to  evaluate a combined opportunistic sensor-based rainfall map over a two-year period. A filtering and interpolation framework was developed which removed erroneous data and considered the uncertainty and geometric features of the two opportunistic sensor types.

This new approach of opportunistic sensor based products was tested against the standard rain gauge network and weather radars, and was shown to outperform the operational rain gauge network on all scales and performed similarly well as the radar products on the hourly, regional and local scale. The researchers say: “The results show the accuracy and increased spatial variability of rainfall maps from opportunistic sensors, especially on smaller spatial and temporal scales.” 

Check the publication here:
Graf, M., El Hachem, A., Eisele, M., Seidel, J., Chwala, C., Kunstmann, H., &Bárdossy, A. (2021). Rainfall estimates from opportunistic sensors in Germany across spatio-temporal scales.

Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 37, 100883.


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