Nowcasting rainfall data through telephone network

The T-Rain project aims at launching a platform for nowcasting* rainfall data, building on a telephone network-sourced data.

It appears that many industrial actors need climate services, i.e. data and consultancy on how meteorological data can impact their business models and daily operations. This is especially relevant for utilities, that manage big production units and/or important networks (electricity, water, natural gas distribution…). However, such services require heavy infrastructure (meteorological stations) and cannot be easily duplicated in all European territories, even less outside Europe. 

Rainfall detection is, as of today, realized mainly through meteo stations equipped with radars. Such radars, however, have high costs of production, operation and maintenance. An adequate telecom network operators’ data analysis could replace such radars data. Indeed, telecom signals go from an emitting station to a receiving station.

When rainfalls occur, they distort, alter or weaken the signal in such a way that by comparing the actual signal with a “standard baseline”, we can extract meteorological data.

T-Rain offers to investigate the possibility of a cheap, reliable, scalable narrowcasting methodology for atmospheric events. Exploiting mobile telecom networks operators’ data would be much cheaper than radars installations, especially in urban contexts where such networks are denser, and far more reliable than traditional gauges that cannot keep up in case of heavy rainfalls events or snow events.  

T-Rain has synergies with the Climate-KIC Wat-Ener-Cast project. Water operators also showed a very strong interest for cheap, reliable real-time nowcasting data.

T-Rain could also replace radars for meteorological observations in developing countries where radars are altogether too expensive and hard to maintain and operate properly.


Denis Morin: dmorin@aria.fr

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