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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 27 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 27 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Commercial Microwave Links as a tool for operational rainfall monitoring in Northern Italy

Giacomo Roversi1, Pier Paolo Alberoni2, Anna Fornasiero2, and Federico Porcù1 Giacomo Roversi et al.
  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, Bologna, 40100, Italy
  • 2Arpae-SIMC, Bologna, 40100, Italy

Abstract. There is a growing interest in emerging opportunistic sensors for precipitation estimates, motivated by the need to describe with detail precipitation structures. In this work a preliminary assessment of the accuracy of Commercial Microwave Links (CMLs) retrieved rainfall rates in northern Italy is presented. The CML product, obtained by the publicly available RAINLINK package, is evaluated at different scales (single link, 5 km x 5 km grid, river basin) against the precipitation products operationally used at Arpae-SIMC, the Regional Weather Service of Emilia-Romagna, in northern Italy. The results of the 15 min single-link validation with close-by raingauges show high variability, with influence of the area physiography and precipitation patterns and the impact of some known issues (e.g. melting layer). However, hourly cumulated spatially interpolated CML rainfall maps, validated with respect to the established regional gauge-based reference, show performances (R2 of 0.47 and CV of 0.77) which are very similar, when not even better, to satellite- and adjusted radar-based precipitation gridded products. This is especially true when basin-scale total precipitation amounts are considered (R2 of 0.85 and CV of 0.63). Taking into account also delays in the availability of the data (latency of 0.33 hours for CML against 1 hour for the adjusted radar and 24 h for the quality controlled raingauges), CMLs appear as a valuable data source in particular from a local operational framework perspective. A diffuse underestimation is evident at both grid box (Mean Error of −0.26) and basin scale (Multiplicative Bias of 0.7), while the number of false alarms is generally low and gets even lower as coverage increases. Finally, results show complementary strengths for CMLs and radars, encouraging a joint exploitation.

Giacomo Roversi et al.

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Giacomo Roversi et al.

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Latest update: 05 Apr 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We compare the precipitation estimates obtained by mobile phones signal analysis with the operational products delivered by hydro- meteorological services, finding reasonable agreement and indications to use these signals as a additional tool to improve operational precipitation estimates. This research originated from a LIFE Project (rainbo) aimed to develop tools to predict severe rainfall events and their impact on the hydrologic response of small basins.
We compare the precipitation estimates obtained by mobile phones signal analysis with the...