While much effort is being put into building special-purpose wireless sensor networks (WSN) for environmental monitoring, the use of existing measurements from a commercial wireless communication system is suggested as an opportunistic sensor network for environmental monitoring. In particular, we propose using measurements of the received signal level (RSL) in the backhaul communication microwave network (CMN) of cellular systems. Recent results have demonstrated the use of the suggested technique for estimating and mapping of rain, as well as of monitoring other-than-rain phenomena, such as: snow and sleet, moisture, for and dew. However, existing measurements of the RSL in a commercial communication microwave network go through non-linear preprocessing, matched to the needs of the cellular providers. Typically, the signals are roughly quantized, and in most protocols the min/max RSL values over each period of 15 minutes is stored, instead of instantaneous samples of the RSL. I will discuss the challenges in adopting statistical signal processing tools to deal with such limitations for optimally detecting precipitation, estimating the accumulated rainfall, and constructing instantaneous rain maps by parameter estimation of the rain fields.
HAGIT MESSER, Fellow of the IEEE, has joined the faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in 1986, after post-doctorate at Yale University, where she is a professor of Electrical Engineering. On 2000 - 2003 she has been on leave from TAU, serving as the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Science, ISRAEL. After returning to TAU she was the head of the Porter school of environmental studies (2004-6), and the Vice President for Research and Development 2006-8. On October 2008 she has started a 5 years term as the President of the Open University in Israel. She is now back to Tel Aviv University, also serving as the Vice-Chair of the council for Higher Education, ISRAEL