5G networks disrupt satellite tools that help with weather forecasting

5G networks disrupt satellite tools that help with weather forecasting

According to meteorologists, 5G networks can seriously influence the prediction of severe storms and therefore endanger lives. The new wireless systems could disrupt delicate satellite instruments used to monitor changes in the atmosphere.…according to The Guardian.

The concerns of meteorologists worldwide stem from the fact that the radio frequencies that will be used by the new 5G networks may contaminate critical earth observations of weather satellites.

The way 5G is introduced can seriously compromise our ability to predict large storms. Ultimately, it can make the difference between life and death. We are very concerned about this, says Tony McNally of the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading.

Precise predictions at risk

Instruments on board the satellites measure the atmosphere and study variables such as water vapour, rain, snow, clouds and ice levels: all crucial factors that influence our weather. Now some meteorologists suspect that some 5G telephone networks transmit a frequency similar to that of water vapour. This produces a signal that is very similar to its presence in the atmosphere.

The result is a reduced prediction, poorer warnings about severe storms and thus a loss of life. We wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, so we’d have to delete that data. That would compromise our ability to make accurate predictions, says Niels Bormann of the Reading weather centre.

For example, The Guardian mentions the 23.8 gigahertz (GHz) frequency, where problems could arise. Water vapor emits a weak signal at this specific, natural wavelength. These data are tracked and measured by weather satellites, after which weather forecasters use this information to find out how a storm or weather system is likely to develop. Bormann: Such data is critical to our ability to make predictions. They are a unique natural resource and if we lose this ability, weather forecasts will be significantly worse.

Auctioning crucial frequencies

Meanwhile, the auctioning of frequencies close to 23.8 GHz to future 5G network providers has already started. This is something that both the US Federal Communications Commission and similar agencies in other countries are working on. According to The Guardian, this only makes the problem more urgent. In addition, it is not only the 23.8 GHz frequency that is causing problems.

For example, the 36-37 GHz band would also cause meteorologists headaches. This tyre is used to study rain and snow. In addition, the atmospheric temperature is measured using the 50 GHz band and the 86-92 Ghz band helps to analyse clouds and ice.

All these bands contain parts of the frequency range currently auctioned in the US in favour of 5G networks. It remains to be seen whether other countries will follow suit when it comes to auctioning the same crucial frequencies. Meteorologists claim that in the case of the US, telephone providers have already affected their ability to collect atmospheric data.

For example, telephone providers are accused of looting the radio spectrum for wavelengths to exploit. In addition, regulators are accused of not protecting natural frequencies. According to the meteorologists, they are vital for earth observation from space.

The subject will be discussed later this year at a global conference in Egypt.

Related: IBM weather forecasting system uses smartphones as a barometer

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.