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Trends in the incidence of rain height and the effects on global satellite telecommunications

Paulson, K.; Al-Mreri, A.


K. Paulson

A. Al-Mreri


Satellite communications using millimetre waves, in Ka band and above, experience significant fading by rain. Strong attenuation is experienced between the ground station and a level known as the rain height, in ITU-R recommendations assumed to be 360 m above the zero-degree isotherm (ZDI). This paper examines NOAA NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1 data to identify changes in the ZDI height over the last 30 years. Near the equator and the poles the ZDI height has been approximately stable over this period. However, in mid-latitudes, different regions show trends of increasing or decreasing ZDI height. Over the economically important regions of North America, China and Western Europe, the ZDI height has shown an increasing trend with peak rates in the range of 8 to 10 metres per year. Given a twenty-year life-time of a satellite system, this could lead to a 10 to 20% increase in fade intensity from a similar rain event. The effect will be compounded by increasing trends in the incidence of heavy rain recently identified in UK data. These trends will need to be considered when designing new systems.


Paulson, K., & Al-Mreri, A. (2011). Trends in the incidence of rain height and the effects on global satellite telecommunications. IET Microwaves Antennas and Propagation, 5(14), 1710-1713.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 13, 2011
Online Publication Date Dec 22, 2011
Publication Date Nov 18, 2011
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal IET microwaves antennas & propagation
Print ISSN 1751-8725
Electronic ISSN 1751-8733
Publisher Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 14
Pages 1710-1713
Keywords Satellite communication; Rain height
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: IET microwaves antennas & propagation, 2011, v.5, issue 14.


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