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Global 5G Wireless Networks Threaten Weather Forecasts

29 April 2019

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The U.S. government has begun auctioning off blocks of wireless radio frequencies to be used for the next-generation communications network known as 5G. But some of these frequencies lie close to those that satellites use for crucial Earth observations—and meteorologists are worried that 5G transmissions could interfere with their data collection.

Unless regulators or telecommunications companies take steps to reduce the risk of interference, Earth-observing satellites flying over areas of the United States with 5G wireless coverage won't be able to detect concentrations of water vapour in the atmosphere accurately. Meteorologists in the United States and other countries rely on those data to feed into their models; without that information, weather forecasts worldwide are likely to suffer.

Source: Scientific American

Image credit: NOAA - A satellite image of atmospheric water vapor over the U.S. Bright blue and white areas have high water vapor, while dark orange and brown mark drier air.

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