March 26, 2015
The Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) is working on a study to acquire real time rainfall data by using cellular networks. Cellular networks communications work by transmitting consistent electromagnetic signals from one antennae to the other, but worthy of note is that rainfall causes a weakening of these electromagnetic signals.
Lead Researcher – Environment & Climate Change, Professor Nnyaladzi Batisani, said BITRI is working on a study to get real time rainfall data using cellular network disturbances. The study will also attempt to predict rain; something Prof. Batisani says will help farmers and water resource management. “We will be using network towers to collect network disturbances and compare them against measured rainfall amounts from nearby meteo-centres,” Batisani explained, adding that owing to low amount of rainfall this year, the first results for study will likely be released in the next rainy season. The study will use data from Botswana Telecommunication Cooperation and also rainfall from the Department of Meteorological Services synoptic for validation.