5G Is Going To Screw Up Weather Forecasts, Meteorologists Warn
by Dan Vergano
Posted February 9, 2020
Deciding whether to pack an umbrella for a weekend away is going to get a lot more difficult in the near future. Next-generation “5G” wireless signals — promising faster, stronger cellphone service — are going to disrupt weather satellite forecasts, according to warnings by meteorologists, lawmakers, and federal science agencies.
This year the FCC auctioned off 24-gigahertz radio frequencies for 5G transmissions, perilously close to the 23.8-gigahertz frequency at which water vapor molecules vibrate in the atmosphere. Weather satellites continuously monitor that subtle signal of humidity, which is an essential ingredient for accurate weather forecasts. Cellphone antennas transmitting 5G signals near that frequency could cause confusion for weather satellites, essentially pouring a firehose of misinformation into the supercomputer models of Earth’s atmosphere running around the clock at weather centers worldwide.
“It’s just physics,” meteorologist Jordan Gerth of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told BuzzFeed News. “You can’t just tell water molecules to change the channel, or use another frequency.” More…