Measuring the rainfall can be a tricky task: the amount of rainfall in any area can change from minute to minute, and it may also possible that few miles away the amount of rainfall is completely different. Many rich countries spend huge amounts of money to make rain gauges in their populated areas and use the ground-based radar to get information about the cloud. But in rural areas or less wealthy countries, this option may be limited or not exist.
In today’s time, there is no way to properly evaluate the rainfall in many communities without rain gauges or radars. This can be a serious problem in those areas where floods, monsoons or landslides are frequent. To solve this problem, some researchers are suggesting a new medium for detecting rainfall, which are already found in every corner of the world: cell tower
Cell towers are an ideal choice for some reasons because they are everywhere, even in very rural places or in poor countries which would never be able to detect rain by expensive rainfall detecting devices. And they always send out enough signal, which means that they can get real-time estimates of rain.
The real process of using cell towers to measure rainfall is very simple, rain reduces cell signals, and clever modeling can work from the backward of cell strength to detect the precipitation in the air. Using real-time data from cell towers, weather scientists can tell that how much rain is falling in a certain area without any special equipment.
This method is not most accurate, but this is the easiest and cheapest way, through which rain can be detected in the rural area without any traditional way. It also makes a good complement to the rain gauge and the radar screen, because the cell tower can identify the amount of rainfall second-by-second, while the radar may take several hours to update.
This concept is already being used in some African areas, and it is also being tested in Sweden. But soon, it will be used on those places across the world, where people determine rainfall in a traditional manner.
Source: The Economist