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How 5G Technology Could Disrupt Hurricane Tracking

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#1 LFC

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 01:45 PM

The impact of the rollout of 5G networks is a real concern for storm trackers.


n May 2019, Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), testified before Capitol Hill that 5G wireless signals could decrease forecasting accuracy by 30 percent.

“This would degrade the forecast skill by up to 30%. If you look back in time to see when our forecast skill was roughly 30% less than it was today, it's somewhere around 1980,” Jacobs said in May. “This would result in the reduction of hurricane track[ing] forecasts’ lead time by roughly two to three days.” A delay of two to three days could have a catastrophic effect on human life.

Still, these warnings haven't swayed regulators nor the cell phone industry. In August, Sprint announced more cities would be added to its 5G rollout plan. AT&T already has 5G available to corporate customers in various cities. Verizon already offers 5G to customers and has plans to expand, too.

The obvious question is, of course, why?


Gerth explained 5G poses a threat specifically to hurricane forecasting because both happen at the same frequency. When it comes to tracking a hurricane’s intensity and pathway, scientists use data from other phenomena in the atmosphere which are gathered by satellites.

“We use data from satellites to assess the state of the atmosphere and use complicated math equations to try to move the atmosphere forward in time,” he said. “If there are 5G signals operating where we are trying to sense the atmosphere it makes it more complicated to use the good observations, the non-affected observations, in these complicated numerical equations.”

Gerth said if 5G was rolled out over land, researchers would then have to take out the satellite observations for parts of those areas where potential interference occurred.

“Right now the uncertainty is to what extent there will be an interference,” he added. “In some sense the cause for education is to make sure that the existing weather sensing bands are protected and that 5G is in areas that are far enough away from where present weather sensors exist.”

This does not mean 5G can’t exist in states like Florida, but that the power might have to be turned down.

"If the power is turned down, there is a lesser likelihood that water satellites (that will sense the atmosphere) will sense the 5G network” instead, Gerth said.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has been dismissive of these concerns, which are only one of several in regards to 5G. As several experts told Salon last year, the effects of widespread use of mobile 5G need to be better-studied before it goes mainstream.

As a reminder Ajit Pai is the f***ing jackhole who fought tooth and nail to destroy net neutrality. He's a money first kinda' guy.
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