2019 World Radiocommunication Conference to discuss the future of 5G and weather forecasts

This week, more than 3,000 members of delegation from four different locations will discuss future guidelines for 5G frequencies and weather forecasts at the World WireLess Communications Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The contradictions are mainly in the precious radio bands required by 5G wireless carriers and traditional weather monitoring. While 5G delivers a much better network speed experience for customers than 4G/LTE, the ultra-high 24GHz band is also valuable to climate scientists.


Satellite cloud map of the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern United States (from: NASA)

Many worry that the next generation of mobile cellular services will interfere with the 24GHz radio signal frequency of water molecules, affecting weather researchers’ ability to monitor water vapor.

Water vapor research is understood to be crucial in predicting storm trajectories, sunny or rainy weather, and keeping a close eye on climate change.

Stephen English, a meteorologist at the European Centre for Mid-Range Weather Forecasting from the UK, said:

We do not want to be portrayed by the media as opponents of 5G technology, but rather as a mutually satisfactory agreement in Egypt. Allows everyone to do the services they want without being disturbed by adjacent bands.

In fact, since the Federal Communications Commission auctioned off this portion of the wireless spectrum in March (and did not propose stricter limits), the potential threat to science and public safety has been growing concern.

To prevent 5G interference with weather forecasting, Stephen English and other scientists want to impose strict limits on the noise generated by 5G devices outside the 24GHz channel.


(Screenshot via Theverge)

In May, Neil Jacobs, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told Congress:

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission ‘s (FCC) objection limits, or data-collectable data that causes satellites to lose nearly 80 percent, set back weather forecasts by 40 years. This uncertainty will have serious consequences.

In April, NASA Administrator Jim Bridensteine told Congress:

Failure to make this prediction accurately will eventually result in the disaster of the evacuated area or the toss ingenuity of those who would otherwise not have to be evacuated.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, wrote two letters to the FCC in September and October asking the agency to provide the scientific basis behind its weak interference limits.

The FCC has not responded to her request, and Johnson said in an October 23 statement: ‘I can only assume that the FCC has no scientific basis to support its position.

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union meets every three or four years to review and revise radio rules. But U.S. President Donald Trump said in a letter to itewithization that “we intend to work with like-minded nations to promote the overall security of 5G around the world.”

It is reported that the meeting will start on Monday, October 28 and continue until November 22. In addition to coordinating the contradictions in the growing demand for radio spectrum, it will also consider providing Internet-connected radio spectrum to mobile targets such as aircraft and ships.

At the last conference in 2015, there was a heated debate about how to specify how often drones will be used. Stephen English points out that it is conceivable how difficult it is to consider each session of the General Assembly and that it is not very optimistic about the final outcome.

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