Satellite-Link Attenuation Measurement Technique for Estimating Rainfall Accumulation

C. Hakan Arslan, Kultegin Aydin, Julio V. Urbina, Lars Dyrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A technique using satellite-link signal attenuation measurements for estimating rainfall accumulation along the link path is evaluated. Power law relationships between attenuation rate A and rainfall rate R are used to estimate R and rainfall accumulation with a satellite link operating at Ku-band (12.3 GHz). Polarimetric radar measurements obtained from a National Weather Service Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler system near State College, Pennsylvania, are utilized to provide a comparison of rainfall accumulation estimates. A tipping-bucket rain gauge, colocated with the satellite receiver, is also used for comparison. A method based on bit error ratio measurements for the satellite link is used to identify periods of rain during which the rainfall rate is estimated from signal attenuation measurements. The effective rain height used in converting the attenuation rate along the link path into the rainfall rate is estimated from polarimetric radar observations. The Ku-band link is not very sensitive to light rain below 1.5 mm/h. Rainfall accumulation estimates obtained for 11 different days using satellite link attenuation show good comparisons with radar (within 19%) for accumulations greater than 6 mm and not so good (within 43%) for accumulations below 3 mm. The results presented in this paper show that using satellite-link attenuation measurements to estimate rainfall accumulations is a promising technique that requires further testing and refinement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8057980
Pages (from-to)681-693
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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