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5, 207–223, 2008

RAIN RATE AND RAIN ATTENUATION PREDICTION FOR SATELLITE COMMUNICATION IN KU AND KA BANDS OVER NIGERIA J. S. Ojo

†

and M. O. Ajewole

Department of Physics Federal University of Technology Akure Ondo State, Nigeria S. K. Sarkar National Physical Laboratory Radio and Atmospheric Science Division Dr. K. S Krishnan Road, New Delhi 110012, India Abstract—Rain rate and rain attenuation predictions are one of the vital steps to be considered when analyzing a microwave satellite communication links at the Ku and Ka bands. In this paper, tools for the prediction of rain rate and rain attenuation are presented in the form of contour maps for Nigeria using a massive rainfall data bank of 30 years which are taken from measurements made from the coast to the arid region of Nigeria. Rain-rate maps for the country of Nigeria were developed using the models purposely designed for tropical zones while ITU-R models were used for the rain-attenuation maps. The information from these maps will be a good preliminary design tools for both terrestrial and earth-satellite microwave links and also provide a broad idea of rain attenuation for microwave engineers. 1. INTRODUCTION Atmospheric eﬀects play a major role in the design of satellite-to-earth links operating at frequencies above 10 GHz. Raindrops absorb and scatter radio waves, leading to signal attenuation and reduction of the system availability and reliability. The severity of rain impairment increases with frequency and varies with regional locations [4]. Hence

†

National Physical Laboratory, Radio and Atmospheric Science Division, Dr. K. S Krishnan Road, New Delhi 110012, India

European Space Agency (ESA). However. Study has revealed that daily rainfall accumulations are universally recorded and hourly data are fairly available by national weather bureaus/environmental agencies [27]. Another very important eﬀort towards gathering more . however. enhanced frequency of rain occurrence and the increased presence of large raindrops when compared with temperate climates [2]. the complex nature and regional variability of rain make this approach highly inaccurate [28]. Initially. This input is sometime provided by meteorological and environmental agencies. For the empirical methodology. It is therefore very important when planning both microwave and terrestrial line-of-sight system links. Empirical method is therefore the most used methodologies [10.208 Ojo. frequencies. attenuation prediction attempts involved extrapolation of measurements to other locations. A method for converting the available rain rate data to the equivalent 1-minute rain rate cumulative distribution is therefore necessary. There is still dearth of rainfall rate of 1-minute integration time necessary for the study of rain induced impairment to telecommunication especially in the tropical region (Nigeria) [1]. when a physical approach is used not all the input parameters needed for the analysis is available. and Sarkar the incidence of rainfall on radio links becomes even more important for frequencies as low as about 7 GHz particularly in the tropical and equatorial climates. to make an accurate prediction of rain induced attenuation on propagation paths [27]. and independent researchers. hydrology and forest management. 13]. This is because global national weather services are established to satisfy more traditional requirements such as those for agriculture. Ajewole. The method for the prediction of rain attenuation on microwave paths has been grouped into two classes: the empirical method which is based on measurement databases from stations in diﬀerent climatic zones within a given region and the physical method which make an attempt to reproduce the physical behaviour involved in the attenuation process. which are characterized by high intensity rainfall. This has become necessary because of the peculiarity of the tropical regions. where intense rainfall events are common [20]. an appropriate distribution of rainfall rate at 1-minute integration time is needed for the site under studied in order to predict accurate rain attenuation for the location. and elevation angles. The critical role of the propagation impairment on communication systems cum lack of rain-measurement data from tropical regions for veriﬁcation for modeling purposes has been the concern of many organizations like. and European cooperative program (COST) among others. universities. the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

1% to 1% [26]. Earth-segment design and a broad idea of rain attenuation for microwave engineers. Ku. Ka and L band. The climatic mapping of rain-rate and rain-attenuation has naturally attracted a great deal of attention — for instance this kind of work has earlier been carried out for USA [12].01%).5◦ E. while the Ka-band transponders will also cover part of Italy. 14. Nigeria has recently launched her ﬁrst communication satellite. As earlier stated. Crane.. The tools are also applicable to other regional and hemispherical broadband access systems. Hence the tools from this work will be used for preliminary design of the satellite microwave links. 1996. satellite-payload design (satellite-coverage analysis). and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) of the World Climatic Research Programme (WCRP). It is the ﬁrst Africa geosynchronous communication satellite and is positioned at 42. 2008 209 information is through Tropical Rain Measurement Mission (TRMM) jointly developed by the United States and Japan. hence the need for this work [21]. qualitative and value-added satellite services to Africans. Colombia [13] and on global scale by ITUR [10]. Vol. and underestimates in the range between 0. known as Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT-1). Chebil’s [3] model for the estimation of point rain rate. the data available from this mission can not directly be employed in system design. Europe [12. It is committed to eﬀective delivery of secure. Gunes et al. Eﬀorts has also been made by Ajayi and Ofoche [2] to obtain 1 minute rain rate map for Nigeria using Rice-Holmberg model however the model overestimates rain rates in the high-availability range (0. 1994]. Rain-rate and rain attenuation maps for the country of Nigeria were developed using the models purposely designed for tropical zones by Moupfouma and Martins [22] (which is a mix between a log-normal distribution for low rain rates and a gamma distribution for high rain rates) and that of J. 5. . in the form of contour maps of rain intensity and rain attenuation. Malaysia [3]. NIGCOMSAT1 has an expected service life of 15 years and can operate at C.Progress In Electromagnetics Research B. These percentages unavailability of time are crucial for communication purposes. Salonen and Baptisa [16]. and the ITU model for rain attenuation prediction method prediction method [16]. The aim of this paper is to give additional tools to the system designers. Nigeria is expected to launch another satellite communication (NIGCOMSAT-2) in the year 2010. for the design of satellite systems in the tropical countries and particularly in Nigeria. due to its long integration time.

as well as being highly variable from year to year. OVERVIEW OF SOME EXISTING MODELS FOR RAIN-ATTENUATION AND RAIN-RATE As earlier mentioned. and Sarkar 2. In this section an overview of some of the important models and their results are considered. The drawback of this approach is that it requires a relatively high density of short integration-time point precipitation measurements or measurements from which these can be derived. The thunderstorm ratio is not always readily available from local weather agencies. The topography is also not explicitly taken into account. Watson et al. 2.1% and 0. number of thunderstorm days expected in an average year and the average annual accumulation. this include the work of Crane [9] which has considerably inﬂuenced the zonal models of the ITU-R and have been used extensively in the United States. highest monthly rainfall accumulation observed in a set of 30-year period. However. Rain-rate Prediction Models Rainfall of high intensity is diﬃcult to record and measure experimentally. therefore requiring a high spatial resolution for the measurement data.01% of an average year based on data for 400 locations within Europe. and provided a systematic approach for obtaining a speciﬁed number of rain zones in country such as Canada. Ajewole. a lot of methodologies exist for the prediction of rain-rate and rain-attenuation. The results reported by Segal [27] also inﬂuenced the ITU-R zonal models. This approach cannot be easily used on global data due to the low spatial resolution of point measurements on a global scale and the errors that would arise from the spatial interpolation of precipitation rates for ﬁxed annual probability levels. The model was later modiﬁed by Dutton . Several models exist for the prediction of point rainfall-rate cumulative distribution.1. [29] later mapped rain rates exceeded for 0. the limit of the model being the number of station-years of measurements available and not all stations fulﬁlled the one minute integration time requirement. in system design it is the highest rainfall rates which are frequently of great interest. This approach has been excellent in providing high quality estimates of rain intensity and was used to update the ITU-R rain zones in Europe. although to a lesser extent in other parts of the world. Holmberg and Rice [24] also developed a model for obtaining rainrate values for use in fading calculations known as Rice-Holmberg’s model. Short integration-time rainfall rate is the most essential input parameter in the prediction models for rain attenuation [27]. The model requires certain parameters like.210 Ojo.

The regression coeﬃcient α and β are deﬁned as α = 12.01 (2) The parameter u in Equation (1) governs the slope of rain rate cumulative distribution and depends on the local climatic conditions and geographical features.01 percent of time in an average year (mm/h) and b is approximated by the following expression: b= r − R0.01 ln 1 + r R0.01 = αM β (4) where α and β are regression coeﬃcients.01 is the rain intensity exceeded during 0.01 γ (3) where λ = 1.01%). The ﬁrst two parameters have been provided. the use of J.01 .Progress In Electromagnetics Research B.01 R0. at the location of interest. and a gamma distribution at high rain rate.01 R0. Thus. γ and R0.01 and M in Malaysia. Chebil’s model [3] appears suitable. For tropical and sub-tropical localities r 4 ln 10 exp −λ u= R0. R0.2973 (5) . 2008 211 and Dougherty [11] to make it depend on four parameters. This kind of model was developed by Moupfouma and Martins [21]. Chebil has made a comparison between some models based on measured values of R0. M . He showed that his model is the best estimate of the measured data [3]. Recent analysis suggests that the rain rate distribution is better described by a model which approximates a log-normal distribution at the low rates. two of which are used to estimate the fraction of thunderstorm rain. Singapore and Vietnam. The power law relationship of the model is given by R0. λ. and underestimates in the range between 0. it has been acknowledged that the Rice-Holmberg method overestimates rain rates in the high-availability range (0. The model is good for both tropical and temperate climate and can be expressed as: P (R ≥ r) = 10 −4 R0.214.066 and γ = 0. However. Indonesia.1% and 1% [26].01 − r]) (1) where r (mm/h) represents the rain rate exceeded for a fraction of the time. it allow the usage of long-time mean annual accumulation. Brazil. Vol. 5. the Moupfouma model requires three parameters.01 .2903 and β = 0.01 r+1 b exp (u [R0. To estimate R0.

Rain-attenuation Prediction Model A number of rain attenuation prediction models have been published which claim global applicability. Bryant model. Excell model. elevation angle.01% of an average year (mm/h). Way back in 1946. To develop the map for rain attenuation over Nigeria.075(φ−23). Crane looked afresh at the model predictions and compared them with the measured values taking the data available and new data published after that. height above sea level of the Earth station (km). Flavin model. and Sarkar Thus. two-component model. He later proposed another model called. for φ ≥ 23◦ (6) Step 2 : The slant-path length. Several workers have proposed diﬀerent models for calculation of attenuation along a path. given by the rain rate distribution. Details of these models can be obtained from COST 255 [5]. Ryde presented a rain attenuation model. Ls . using the reﬁned Moupfouma model and Chebil model. model. The input parameters needed for the model are: point rainfall rate for the location for 0. followed by the revised version [8]. After three decades. the 1 min rain-rate cumulative distribution is fully determined from the longterm mean annual rainfall data. He found an average matching between model predictions and measurements [6. below the freezing rain height is obtained Hr − Hs Ls = (km) (7) sin θ . 2. Several other models also include: simple attenuation model by Stutzman and Dishman. frequency (GHz) and eﬀective radius of the Earth (8500 km). DHA model. 7]. Misme Waldteufel. Moupfouma Model among others. Garcia model.0 − 0.212 Ojo.2. It has been reported that the ITU rain attenuation prediction model result were close to the average prediction of a set of results obtained from the application of eight diﬀerent methodologies [23]. latitude of the Earth station (degree). Attenuation predictions require ﬁrst the estimation of a surface rain rate distribution and second the prediction of the radiowave attenuation value distribution.0 for 0◦ ≤ φ < 23◦ Hr = 5. ITU rain attenuation model of ITU rain attenuation model of [16] was used. The step by step procedure for calculating the attenuation distribution is given below: Step 1: Freezing height during rain Hr (km) is calculated from the absolute value of station latitude φ (degrees) as Hr = 5. Ajewole. ITU-R model. Dutton et al.

through rain: Lr = LG r0.45 f2 (13) .Progress In Electromagnetics Research B. exceeded for 0. and polarization. Lr . and is used for calculating the speciﬁc attenuation. 2008 213 where θ is the elevation angle and Hs is the station height in km.01% of the time is also given by: rv0.38 [1 − e−2LG ] f (11) Step 6 : Calculate the adjusted rainy path length. r0. for 0. a more accurate path length estimate can be made using: Ls = 2 (Hr − Hs ) 2 (Hr − Hs ) sin θ + Re 2 0.01 . rain temperature. For elevation angles less than 5◦ . raindrop size distribution.5 (km) Re = 8500 km + sin θ (8) Step 3 : The horizontal projection. rv0. 5. Step 5 : The horizontal path adjustment factor. LG .01 (mm/h).01 Hr − Hs for ξ > θ Lr = for ξ ≤ θ cos θ sin θ Hr − H s where ξ = tan−1 LG r0. for 0. They can be obtained from [17].01 (dB/km): α γR = kR0.78 1 LG γR − 0. Vol. R0.01% of an average year is then obtained from the 1 minute integration rain rate data.01 (12) Step 7 : The vertical reduction factor.01 (10) The parameter k and α depend on frequency. [km].01% of the time is also given as: r0. of the slant path length is found from: LG = Ls cos θ (9) Step 4 : The rain intensity.01. γ0.01 = 1+ 1 √ sin θ 31 1 − e−θ/[1+χ] √ LG γR − 0.01 = 1 + 0.

The middle belt region also receives about 1200 mm.005 (|φ| − 36) for θ ≥ 25◦ and |φ| < 36◦ z = −0.005 (|φ| − 36) + 1. for |φ| < 36◦ and χ = 0.033 ln(p)−0. may then be estimated from the attenuation to be exceeded for 0. (17) (18) . with an average accumulation of 1500–2000 mm. Ajewole. with an average accumulation less than 1000 mm. DEVELOPMENT OF RAIN-RATE AND RAIN ATTENUATION CONTOUR MAPS Daily rainfall data were collected from the Nigerian Meteorological Station for 26 locations which cut across the coastal to arid region of Nigeria for a period of 30 years for most of the stations. in the range 0. z = 0 for p < 1% z = 0 for |φ| ≥ 36◦ z = −0. Step 8 : The eﬀective path length through rain. The southsouth area is the coastal region with an annual average rainfall of about 3000 mm.01% of an average year may then be obtained from: A0.655+0.25 sin θ.8 − 4. for |φ| ≥ 36◦ . and Sarkar where χ = 36 − |φ|.01 )−z sin θ(1−P )] (16) where p is the percentage probability of interest and z is given by For p ≥ 1%. is given by: Le = Lr rv0.001% to 10%.01 p 0.01% for an average year by using: Ap = A0. showing the most important tropical climate zones of the country as well as the altitude of the stations where rain data were collected for this work.01 = γR Le (dB) (15) Step 10 : The estimated attenuation to be exceeded for the other percentages of an average year.01 −[0. Figure 1 presents the topographical map of Nigeria. the south west of the country belongs to the rain forest zone.01 (14) Step 9 : The predicted attenuation exceeded for 0. for θ < 25◦ and |φ| < 36◦ 3. while the northern area is the arid/savannah region.045 ln(A0.214 Ojo. Le [km].

08 14.10 7.53 5.44 7. applying the methodologies described in Equations (1) to (5) (Moupfouma and Chebil’s models). we have used Moupfouma model which approximates a log-normal distribution at the low rates.3 8.1 8. the 1 min rain-rate contour maps of Figure 2 for 0.59 12.538 1097. Thus.17 6.488 650.5 4.288 451.59 13 Average annual accumulation (mm/year) 1485.206 648.968 1186. and a gamma distribution at high rain rate.2 8.5 8.23 8.32 13.301 1777.Progress In Electromagnetics Research B.89 746.25 7. The model was used in conjunction with the Chebil’s model.805 849.18 3.3 5 4.775 2803. Vol.398 1215.18 10.104 2617.2 5.08 9.41 12.207 2864.01% was developed.11 9.336 .850 1337. and using the parameters in Table 1 as input.586 556.04 11.45 6.5 11.4 10.29 6. The contour lines of Figures 2 Table 1.16 10. Rain Rate Contour Maps For the development of rain rate contour map.1% and Figure 3 for 0. 2008 215 3.57 1425.39 9.04 11.1.5 7. 5.879 574.36 11. Local climatological parameters of the stations for this study.433 1012.3 4.5 10.17 6.58 7.13 13.751 924.464 801.27 1232.907 1196.25 3.25 7.27 9.455 657.371 567. Station Akure Ikeja Calabar Minna Kano Makurdi Sokoto Maiduguri Dikwa Adamawa Ile Ife Ilorin Port Harcourt Warri Enugu Abuja Saki Jos Gombe Bauchi Kaduna Zaria Borno Gusau Nguru Katsina Longitude (◦ N) 5.35 Latitude (◦ E) 7. Table 1 presents the local climatological parameters of the stations for this study.503 1876.33 11.397 1103.51 12.5 7 5.26 7.09 12.52 12.58 9.33 8.

and 3 were developed using the kriging method in a MATLAB program. Ajewole.01% of time in Nigeria. Longitud e (degree) Figure 2.216 14 Ojo.01 respectively for a location like Warri and Calabar (coastal region) . and Sarkar DESERT ARID REGION 400 12 10 M IDDLE BELT 8 RAIN FOREST ZONE 800 400 0 40 6 COASTAL REGION 150 AT LANTIC OCEAN 4 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Longitude (degree) Figure 1. ITU-R has classiﬁed Nigeria to be in rain climatic zone N and P and it has assigned a value of 65 mm/h and 145 mm/h for R0. Rain rate (mm/h) contour maps for 0. Topographic map of Nigeria.1 and R0. showing the most important tropical climate zones of the country as well as the altitude of the stations where rain data were collected.

1 is ∼30 mm/h.Progress In Electromagnetics Research B. second. 3. The attenuation contour maps were developed for Ku and Ka band in order to meet today’s active challenges in the rapid growth of satellite broadband networks. Rain rate (mm/h) contour maps for 0. However. and third. the attenuation-calculation methodology [16]. Figures 2 and 3 shows that in a location like Port Harcourt.2. However.01 and 35 mm/h to the zone [19]. the calculation of rain height [18]. the R0. ITU has assigned a value of 95 mm/h for R0.01 ranges from about 65–80 mm/h depending on the location while R0. while it is ∼50 mm/h for R0. Warri and Calabar with highest rain fall accumulation. 30 30 40 40 50 Longitude (degree) Figure 3. due to the bandwidth requirements of the application they are expected to support. Eﬀorts are being made to use Ka band rather than Ku band frequencies. The fact that ITU-R rain zoning overestimated rain rate values in Nigeria is clearly revealed with the help of this map [2].1% of time in Nigeria. Katsina. Borno. Vol. In order to develop the rain attenuation for 0. In addition Ka-band allow for a higher returnlink data rate. Nguru.1% and .1 . the R0. the rain attenuation contour maps were developed using ITU rain attenuation model of [16]. The mountainous zone like Jos Plateau with an altitude up to 1400 m has ∼100 mm/h for R0. Dikwa and Maiduguri. For area with lower average annual precipitation (arid area) such as Sokoto.01 . while it is ∼36 mm/h for R0. Rain Attenuation Contour Maps As earlier mentioned.01 is ∼130 mm/h. 5. 2008 217 which belongs to zone P of the ITU. The application consists of three methodologies: ﬁrst is the calculation of the speciﬁc attenuation [17].1 .

2 dB between the two frequency bands.45 GHz for Ka-band (these values were used because it corresponds to the center of the band for Ku and Ka-band downlinks respectively). Longitude (degree) Figure 4.8 dB for ka-band. and Sarkar 0. The results of the rain attenuation prediction in the south western part of the country (area regarded as the rain forest zone) has a diﬀerence of ∼3 dB when compared with the coastal region for the Ku-band. frequency of operation: 12. while Figure 5 is for Ka-band.6 dB for Ku-band.675 GHz for Ku and 19. while it is up to ∼10 dB for ka-band. Other parameter used to draw the maps are.01% of the time. Ajewole. this show a diﬀerence of about 18. the rain attenuation is as high as ∼37. while it is ∼19.218 Ojo.01% rain-attenuation (dB) contour map for the Ku band. A 0. The results show a diﬀerence in both the Ku and Ka-band predicted attenuation values over each of the location. The magnitude of the average diﬀerence between the far Northern zones (desert area) was of the order of 1 dB for Ku-band and 2 dB for Ka-band. Satellite orbital position: 42.5◦ E (NIGCOMSAT 1 orbital position). rain rate from each contour line were applied to the ITU rain attenuation model described in Equations (6) to (18) in conjunction with the altitude obtained from Figure 1 and the latitude from Table 1. Figure 4 presents the contour map for 0. The middle belt region shows a diﬀerence of ∼5 dB for Ku-band when compared with the arid region of the country. . For a coastal region like Calabar with the highest average annual accumulation.01% rain attenuation for Ku-band for Nigeria. while it is ∼6 dB for the Ka-band.

Longitude (degree) Figure 6. Lon gitude (degree) Figure 5. 2008 219 Figures 6 and 7 also show the contour maps for 0.1% rain-attenuation contour map for the Ku band. since it corresponds to an averageyear propagation objective (99. Vol. . A 0.01% rain-attenuation (dB) contour map for the Ka band. For Ku band.Progress In Electromagnetics Research B.9 availability of time). This section is very crucial to system designers.1% rain attenuation for Ku-band and Ka-band respectively. A 0. 5.

Ajewole. and Sarkar the magnitude of the attenuation prediction was of the order of 1 dB diﬀerence for the coastal region of the country due to the higher rain rates used as input data. The terminal eﬀects of these modiﬁcations are reﬂected in the service price. for Ka band the magnitude is as high as 7 dB when compared the coastal region with other zones. larger ampliﬁers). It is therefore necessary to compensate for the diﬀerences via RF modiﬁcations (larger antennas. system designers need to be aware of these diﬀerences because they represent an uncertainty in the design of each link. However.220 Ojo. . There is consistence larger increase in the rain-attenuation predictions in the southern part of the country and inferior in the northern part. The northern part of the country showed a moderate rain attenuation prediction due to low amount of rainfall intensity in the region. In general.1% rain-attenuation (dB) contour map for the Ka band. the diﬀerences and higher dB values in some locations often aﬀects service availability and can lead to interruptions of communications link performance. Hence. A 0. both in initial expenses and in periodic expenses [13]. predicted rain-attenuation value is lower for Ku-band when compared with the Ka-band. The uncertainty might lead to an over-cost. Longitude (degree) Figure 7. Also.

Handbook on Radiopropagation Related to Satellite Communications in Tropical and Subtropical Countries. REFERENCES 1. and B. Canada. 35.01% of the time using the reﬁned Moupfouma model for rain rate maps and ITU-R 618 for the rain attenuation maps over Nigeria. for providing his valuable comments on this work. S. R. Lee. Final Document. J. 562–567. of Climate and Applied. 1997. Vol.1 and 0. Meteor.. O. Vol. “Development of 1 min rain rate contour maps for microwave applications in Malaysia Peninsula. “Prediction of the eﬀects of rain on satellite communication system. 2.” COST 255. A. Rahman. 1977. M. Ofoche. One of the author’s (JSO) is thankful to NPL/CSIR/TWAS for providing CSIR/TWAS fellowship to carry out the work in the area of tropospheric radiowave propagation. The information from these maps will be useful in the preliminary design for both terrestrial and earth-satellite microwave links. H. 2008 221 4. 3. and to provide a broad idea of rain attenuation to microwave engineers for the proposed launching of another satellite communication (NIGCOMSAT-2) in Nigeria. “Rain attenuation measurements of the Koreasat beacon signal on 12 GHz. 23. Kim. S. G. U. Vol. Crane. G. D Emiliani of the Satellite Media Solutions. Ajayi. 1999. M.” Proceedings of the IEEE. Reddy. M. Ajayi. Radicella. B. 1996. 7–14.” Electronics Letts. 2002. “Some tropical rainfall rate characteristics at Ile-Ife for microwave and millimeter wave application. K. Choi. J. Trieste. and E. .Progress In Electromagnetics Research B... Vol. and T.. 1712–1774. 5. Y. Arqiva Limited. Chebil. K. O. 208–211. CONCLUSIONS Rain rate and rain attenuation contour maps have been developed for 0.” J. 456– 474.. The 0. 6. Italy.1% of time of rain attenuation is needed for very small aperture terminal (VSAT) network service-availability. “Radiowave propagation modeling for new satcom services at Kuband and above. S. 1983. Ottawa. and J. 65. Feng. ICTP. 4. 5.” CLIMPARA’98. C. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors are thankful to L.

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