The next generation of high-speed communication systems, 5G, is expected to enable a huge amount of data communication. Weather experts have expressed concern with the practical use of 5G, and some experts say that 5G communication may reduce the accuracy of the weather forecast by 30% and return to the 1980s level.
Washington In the United States, a 5G band of 24GHz band was allocated, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) planned to hold an auction in March 2019. Researchers such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA expressed concern before the auction took place.
NOAA and NASA weather satellites are equipped with a sensor called “High Performance Micro Sounder” (AMSU), which operates at frequencies between 23.6 and 24 GHz to observe water vapor. The researchers point out the danger of interfering with the frequency used by the sensor to observe water vapor and the 24GHz band assigned as a 5G band, and argues that the data collection and transmission of weather satellites could be significantly obstructed once 5G is operational. However, the FCC rejected NOAA and NASA’s claims as “technically unfounded”, and the 24GHz auction was conducted as scheduled, and T-Mobile and AT&T won the license.
Since then, research institutions and weather researchers are focusing on the limitations of out-of-band firing that affect the nearby frequency bands. The smaller the out-of-band launch, the lower the risk of interfering with each other, even if the frequency bands of 5G and the weather satellite are close. From October 28, 2019, an international conference was held in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to determine the regulation and future of 5G, bringing together more than 3,000 participants from countries around the world. The conference also discussed the 5G out-of-band launch limit, and weather researchers expected more severe restrictions. At the meeting, the United States called for out-of-band launch to be below -22dB, and European regulators and the World Meteorological Agency called for a more stringent -55dB or lower limit. The agreement obtained at the meeting was to “tighten the limit on out-of-band firing in two stages,” and it was decided to limit out-of-band launch to -33 dB or less until September 2027 and then to -39dB or less.
There have been mixed voices from meteorologists about this agreement. “The agreed points at lower thresholds than The U.S. claims should be welcomed, but we cannot be sure that there will be no interference in weather data,” said Jordan Gerth, an American meteorologist. Neil Jacobs, a no-noa researcher, believes that if his research team’s research is correct, the accuracy of the weather forecast could drop by up to 30% and revert to the 1980s level. The European Centre for Medium-Term Forecasting (ECMWF) also criticized the results of the international conference, and is concerned that the agreement is insufficient to ensure that 5G applications do not interfere with weather observations and will have a significant impact on science against climate change. “I’m worried and discouraged that science will continue to yield to social pressures,” ECMWF said. NOAA is considering switching to other alternative observation methods if 5G worsens the accuracy of weather forecasts. For example, by observing water vapor only on the Earth’s oceans, it is possible to avoid interference by 5G equipment installed on land. Another option is to develop an artificial intelligence approach to recover weather data lost by 5G, and to find ways to maintain the accuracy of weather forecasting.