Using cellular towers to measure rainfall

Here's an interesting use of the radio links between cell towers — measuring the amount of rainfall. Rainfall interferes with radio in certain frequency ranges used by cellular companies to connect their cell towers to the landline networks.  Cellular companies must monitor the signal strength of these radio links to be sure that rainfall does not degrade the signals too much.

Using this data may be an inexpensive way to provide a detailed picture of rainfall reaching the ground.  Typically rainfall is measured either via a handfull of rain guauges which are expensive to operate and maintain, or via radar which measures rain at altitude rather than rain that actually reaches the ground.

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