Articles | Volume 16, issue 8
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 2647–2661, 2012
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 2647–2661, 2012

Research article 13 Aug 2012

Research article | 13 Aug 2012

Precipitation observation using microwave backhaul links in the alpine and pre-alpine region of Southern Germany

C. Chwala1, A. Gmeiner1,3, W. Qiu1, S. Hipp2, D. Nienaber2, U. Siart2, T. Eibert2, M. Pohl3, J. Seltmann4, J. Fritz5, and H. Kunstmann1,6 C. Chwala et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 2Technische Universität München, Institute for High-Frequency Engineering, Munich, Germany
  • 3University of Applied Sciences Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
  • 4Deutscher Wetterdienst, Hohenpeißenberg, Germany
  • 5Ericsson GmbH, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 6University of Augsburg, Institute for Geography, Augsburg, Germany

Abstract. Measuring rain rates over complex terrain is afflicted with large uncertainties, because rain gauges are influenced by orography and weather radars are mostly not able to look into mountain valleys. We apply a new method to estimate near surface rain rates exploiting attenuation data from commercial microwave links in the alpine region of Southern Germany. Received signal level (RSL) data are recorded minutely with small data loggers at the towers and then sent to a database server via GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). Due to the large RSL fluctuations in periods without rain, the determination of attenuation caused by precipitation is not straightforward. To be able to continuously process the RSL data from July 2010 to October 2010, we introduce a new method to detect wet and dry periods using spectral time series analysis. Its performance and limitations are presented, showing that the mean detection error rates of wet and dry periods can be reduced to 10% for all five links. After, the wet/dry classification rain rates are derived from the RSL and compared to rain gauge and weather radar measurements. The resulting correlations differ for different links and reach values of R2 = 0.81 for the link-gauge comparison and R2 = 0.85 for the link-radar comparison.