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article image5G technology could lead to failure to warn about hurricanes

By Tim Sandle     May 26, 2019 in Environment
The implementation of 5G technology, if not of the right specification for a given area, could lead to a reduction in weather forecasting accuracy and lead to reduced abilities for storm tracking, according to the U.S. NOAA.
The heads of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have warned that poorly launched 5G networks could see the world’s weather forecasting abilities diminish, leading to a reduced ability to predict the path of hurricanes and thereby reducing the amount of time available to evacuate and enhanced risk to populations. As The Washington Post reports, scientists have discovered that 5G technology has the potential to interfere with the satellite data used in weather forecasting.
The risk arises due to the aims of many technology providers to push ahead with the implementation of 5G (fifth generation cellular network) technology before the technology has been fully tested and is of the appropriate standard. This is something driven by growing consumer interest in 5G and with mobile device providers in particular keen to get ahead of the race. This means the interests of science (satellite data protection) are pitted against the race to implement 5G technology for consumer sales.
The Verge expands on the problem: the wireless frequencies earmarked for speedy 5G millimeter wave networks, which span the 24 GHz band, are very close to the frequencies required by the microwave satellites which to observe water vapor and detect key changes in the weather, such as providing early warnings about hurricanes.
The issue has come to light following NOAA's acting chief Neil Jacobs testifying on Capitol Hill about the interference risk from new 5G wireless radios. According to Jacobs, the level of interference could reduce the accuracy of weather forecasting by as up to 30 percent. This would mean, taking one scenario, people living in coastal areas having at least two to three fewer days to prepare for a hurricane. Furthermore, the decrease in data accuracy would affect predictions about where major storms will make landfall. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine earlier made similar comments to the House Science Committee.
Jacobs went on to say that lives could be a risk and states that the level of interference would have made the forecasts about the 2012's deadly Hurricane Sandy less accurate and event more lives would have been lost.
The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association), the trade group representing the U.S. wireless communications industry, has challenged the claims, although no counter science based argument has been forward.
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