5G Network Threatens Timely Hurricane Predictions

May 30, 2019

Experts are suggesting that the new technology is bound to leave people with no warning and time to evacuate.

Technology has mainly been deemed integral to progress. But what if decades of advancements in weather forecasting were retracted, and we wouldn’t be given any time to prepare for an approaching catastrophic storm?  

This scenario may just be a real one. Government’s science agencies believe it could happen due to a current race to deploy a 5G technology that promises higher speed for mobile networks. 

The leaders of NASA and NOAA warn that deployment of 5G networks can negatively impact the transmission of critical data, threatening the interests of science and national safety.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems to be on polar stands with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), NASA, and NOAA. 

The dispute regards wavelength frequencies currently used by public and private weather satellites, weather balloons, and ocean buoys to predict the weather. Raising many concerns with meteorologists, the debate is intensified by the nearing WRC conference that convenes nations every three years to revisit international regulations on radio spectrum usage. 

5G Network Threatens Timely Hurricane Predictions

Experts are worried about losing potential access to specific portions of the electromagnetic spectrum meteorologists rely on for Earth observation. The infamous 5G technology is planned to use the spectral bands and the adjacent bands. And if the wireless technology moves into the said bands, there’s a risk of interference. Passive microwave sensors pick up a feeble signal that could easily be drowned out by transmission in an adjacent band. 

Without accessing microwave sensor data, it would be impossible for forecasters to have predicted the path of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the Eastern seaboard in 2012, claims Jordan Gerth, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. 

The heated argument involving Mr. Gerth and CTIA, the trade group representing the U.S. wireless comms industry, was taken to Twitter. Previously, CTIA called the microwave sensor as “fake”, and that it “never went into use.”


"The dire predictions about the impact of on current weather forecasting are wrong on the merits, on the facts, and on the process." -EVP Brad Gillen on how we can—and will—have 5G and weather forecasting. Read more: https://ctia.it/2MdJlur 

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12:33 PM - May 21, 2019

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In response to that, Gerth tweeted that CTIA’s blog post is “misleading.” He specified that the canceled sensor was replaced by a similar model used by NOAA and other international agencies. 

It appears the parties involved in the conflict remain on the opposite sides of the spectrum.  

Mark Norton, Agility’s Test and Declare Manager expressed his hope, saying, “The Sounding of the alarm is out of the abundance of caution, but it certainly seems to carry merit.”