The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) and mobile operator TIM Brazil signed an operational partnership agreement this Thursday (August 28, 2013) to install rainfall data sensor platforms at Radio Base Stations (RBS) located near areas at risk of natural disasters. In the first phase, automatic rainfall gauges will be installed on around 200 TIM radio base towers. Some have already been approved for sensor installation in the states of Ceará, Pernambuco, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Brazil’s National Monitoring & Early Warning System for Natural Disasters (CEMADEN) will be responsible for maintaining and installing the equipment while TIM, in addition to offering rainfall sensor platform co-location, will provide the data transmission capability. "With this data, we will be able to record the volume of rainfall in areas at risk of landslides or flash floods every five minutes, to make life safer for communities living in these areas", said the MCTI National Secretary of Research and Development Policies and Programs, Dr. Carlos Nobre.
Today, the federal government monitors 340 municipalities at risk through CEMADEN/MCTI, sending out early warning alerts for landslides and flooding. The government plans to install a national weather sensor network consisting of 2800 automatic rainfall nationwide and increase the number of municipal regions being monitored to 821 by the end of 2014.
TIM Brazil's CEO, Rodrigo Abreu, said this type of initiative is a benchmark for both TIM and the industry and added that "Mobile telephony and its infrastructure have much to contribute to improving people's lives and Brazilian development. We will continue to invest in similar initiatives".
National Virtual Weather Monitoring Innovation Program
In addition an innovation partnership will be signed during the ceremony, attended by MCTI Minister Marco Antonio Raupp and TIM Brazil CEO Rodrigo Abreu – this will be a Research, Development and Innovation program, unique in Latin America, in partnership with the Planetary Skin Institute (PSI) and leading international research and development institutions partnering with PSI and MCTI. The Planetary Skin Institute is a global non-profit research and development organization that aims to improve the lives of millions of people around the world by developing risk and resource management decision services to address the growing challenges of resource scarcity, the land-water-food-energy-climate nexus and the increasing impact and frequency of weather extremes.
Under this partnership, TIM will provide data from its radio links nationwide to PSI and CEMADEN/MCTI in order to develop an innovative National Virtual Weather capability throughout the country, without requiring high density coverage from ground-based meteorological stations. With sophisticated analytics using the information collected from the mobile telephone network and other meteorological data, national rainfall maps can be created at high resolution in real time.
"We expect to analyze the big data from the TIM cellular network microwave links during the first year of our research and development partnership in order to develop and validate innovative applications for a Virtual Meteorological capability nationwide, initially prioritizing areas with high exposure of natural disasters", explained Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, CEO of the Planetary Skin Institute (PSI). He shared that this agreement will establish international best practices in risk management applications and over time will be replicated and scaled to other countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
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Planetary Skin Institute (PSI) is a global non-profit research and development organization that aims to improve the lives of millions of people around the world by developing risk and resource management decision services to address the growing challenges of resource scarcity, the land-water-energy-food-climate nexus and the increasing impact and frequency of weather extremes.
PSI collaborates with research and development partners across multiple sectors to identify, conceptualize, and incubate replicable and scalable innovations, that could significantly increase the resilience of low-income communities, increase food, water, and energy security and protect key ecosystems and biodiversity.