Weather conditions have in general huge impact on the global economy, in particular on agriculture, industry, transport, and so forth. In recent years, also the occurrences of rapid and localized heavy rainfall in complex topographic areas became more frequent, possibly due to global warming. These facts cause injuries and deaths, and an accurate and early alert system is required to warn people and operators. In this chapter, we describe a real-time and low-cost system for precipitation detection, aimed at collecting additional data with respect to those obtainable from traditional sensors. Such a system is based on the opportunistic usage of satellite digital video broadcasting (DVB-S) microwave signals and estimates the rain intensity from the detected attenuation. Our system proved to accurately obtain results comparable with rain gauges located in the experimentation area, with much tighter spatial and temporal scales than traditional schemes.
Part of the book: Wave Propagation Concepts for Near-Future Telecommunication Systems