Poor Cell Signals Used To Monitor African Rains

By on May 14, 2015

Cell signals are being used to monitor African rains. (Credit: Orangecrush / Shutterstock)

Weather monitoring infrastructure in Africa has fallen into disrepair. Luckily, a group of scientists has found an inexpensive way to track rainfall there using cell phone signals, according to Science News.

Cell phone signals become convoluted during rain, and phone companies have learned to compensate for signal differences caused by wet weather. Scientists at the University of Ouagadougou have learned to leverage those signal weaknesses to track rain patterns.

Going over data collected from a 2012 study using two transmission towers, researchers found they were able to accurately track rain movement 95 percent of the time. The data, they say, are comparable to other rainfall measurements obtained by satellite.

Although the method using cell signals has been successful in the U.S. and elsewhere, it has seen little use in Africa until recently. Researchers are optimistic that the method could be very useful in Africa, especially in remote regions without much environmental monitoring funding.

Top image: Cell signals are being used to monitor African rains. (Credit: Orangecrush / Shutterstock)

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