back to article Weather forecasters are STILL banging on about 5G clashing with their sensors. As if climate change is a big deal

The weather forecasters responsible for letting millions knowing about weather patterns, including hurricanes and tornadoes, have warned yet again that plans to auction off radio spectrum for 5G mobile networks could have a dangerous impact on their efforts. The American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Meteorological Society …

  1. JLV

    Nothing to worry about. With Ajit Pai, the telecom industry people have a robust and impartial regulator to take decisions in the interest of all.


      FCC is stil a committee

      what they are worried about is the spectrum for things like Doppler radar

      you know those images that take up the most internet bandwidth on the internet excluding pornography

      the problem is that the weather people are frankly useless at making their case because some of it is not really proven and the FCC is calling their bluff

      personally I would like a real study conducted into the interference and how the weather radar could be improved with the spectrum rather than using the old "its not broken please do not fix it"

      the FCC needs to harmonise with the rest of the world and should worry when NOAA etc turn up at their door

    2. Mr Benny

      He's just another scientifically and technically illiterate lawyer so when the weather people talk about microwave issues he probably thinks they're compaining about not being able to re-heat last nights pizza.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    No severe weather warnings?

    Oh I see! Somebody else needs to make a profit? Well that's okay then, a few hurricanes aren't going to hurt anybody.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: No severe weather warnings?

      Made for a different reason, but still relevant...

  3. ThatOne Silver badge


    Hurricanes and tornadoes are the weather forecasters' problem, the FCC's problem is making big money out of selling everything they can get their hands on. Who will be blamed if some hicks get killed in some bad weather occurrence? Not the FCC, that's for sure.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two With One Blow

    The Trump administration wins the hearts and minds of the telecommunications industry...


    reduces the amount of data those crazy scientist use to push their "Global Warming Hoax".

    Now where did I put that sarcasm icon?

    1. Paul Kinsler

      "Global Warming Hoax"

      On which subject (or not), here's a couple of interesting links I read recently:

      (or, in shorter form)

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "Global Warming Hoax"

        Just come visit us, in north Germany. It is usually the cooler part of Germany - when I lived in the south, we had days of over 45°C in the summer. But we had 39°C yesterday and it should be over 40°C today, and we aren't even into August yet!

        1. Fading Silver badge

          Re: "Global Warming Hoax"

          And if August is cooler than average you may end up with an "Average" summer. You don't experience climate change - you experience weather (which is averaged up into climate) .

          (Penguin - because they are happy in South Africa and Antartica - be more Penguin)

  5. Kinetic

    Why not use 4G/5G?

    I'm genuinely curious, why not just replace the existing transmission system with a cellular 4G/5G system, at the network's cost. The networks get some early adopters to test their system, and the weathermen get their data. It seems obvious enough that I assume there's some fatal flaw in this plan.... any ideas?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

      They're not using 4G/5G for transmission - they are using microwave sounders "which measure and report temperature and moisture levels"

      I don't believe 4G/5G data networks provide accurate temperature and moisture levels but I could be wrong.

    2. druck Silver badge

      Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

      If they used 4G/5G instead of direct microwave links, they risk relying on a large amount of telecoms infrastructure, any part of which could be affected by an adverse weather event, and stop communications over a wide area.

      1. bitburp

        Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

        As far as I understand, this has not been explained correctly in the article. Weather satellites detect the presence of water vapour (and other atmospheric gases) by firing microwave signals downwards and detecting what comes back up. Water vapour absorbs radiation at around the frequency of the proposed 5G frequencies (I believe), which is why ground based emissions at the same frequency will completely screw these observations (obviously the signal power reflected back to the satellite is tiny, so the 5G signal would swamp any observation).

        Satellite observation is by many orders of magnitude the most useful input to a weather forecast, and removing this observation type, would have a significant decremental effect on the accuracy of the forecast.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

          ^^^ This. (Although there is some consideration for satellite downlinks as well) It's all about being able to sense the presence of water vapour in the air.

          The EU has already set limits for how much a 5G transmitter can leak into the 23.6-24GHz band that is used by weather sats, of -42 dB*. Last I heard, the FCC was proposing limits of about -30dB, which is quite a lot less limiting, and definitely has the potential to fuck up weather forecasting.

          * The precise restrictions are: "−42 dBW/200 MHz for 5G Base Stations and −38 dBW/200MHz for 5G User Equipment" taken from section 5.4 here.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

            Addendum, as I finish writing that comment, I finally found this document that spells out the limits that various different regulatory bodies are planning to place on unwanted emissions (UE) into the 23.6-24GHz band, and it looks like the EU is being much more strict than pretty much everywhere else on the planet, and the US is most lax:

            African Telecommunications Union -28 to -30 dB

            Arab Spectrum Management Group - 28 dB

            European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications -42dB

            US FCC -20dB

            Asia-Pacific Telecommunity -29.7 dB

            Most of these seem to be proposed limits, not set in stone yet, but it's worth noting that the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity includes most of the countries where 5G modems will actually be made.

        2. JLV

          Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

          I see @phuzz has already raised the point but 5G is not US only. nor is bandwidth auctioning. how is this or not a problem elsewhere and what is the FCC shirking at, considering Pais FCC has no credibility whatsoever?

    3. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

      They have a system that is working fine, that is using some frequencies that were allocated to them, who will pay for the change (including launch of new satellites)?

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

        You may not even change the frequencies. If you use specific frequencies because a given substance absorbs or reflect them in a way that delivers quantitative data, you can't simply use others.

        I'm starting to think the telco obsession about 5G has the same rationale, though, they want to observe and measure our behaviours wherever we are, and sell those data.

        Maybe then tornado warnings will come when mobes in the pockets of people will start to deliver data that they are spinning wildly....

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

      The letter (link in article) sent to the FCC explains it in the opening paragraphs: they have satellites that use the 1675-1680 MHz band for space-to-earth transmission and terrestial sensors with receive-only antennas that will be operational until at least the 2030s.

      One can only conclude that vested interests in the US are seeking to knobble data collection so that they can claim there is no evidence of climate change etc. because the scientists have no data...

    5. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

      Re: Why not use 4G/5G?

      Hurricane Maria knocked out almost the entirety of Puerto Rico's cellular grid, which remained crippled for years. Aerial transmission is far hardier as it can be brought online as soon as the transmitting and receiving points are rebuilt.

  6. Nickckk

    Frying tonight (or when it arrives)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5G is a load of shit for penetrating buildings and frankly quite useless. We don't even have full 3G coverage yet, never mind 4G.


    1. Symon Silver badge

      Yes, it's totally useless. Like stocking frames and the spinning jenny. Fucking 'progress'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Yes, it's totally useless. Like stocking frames and the spinning jenny. Fucking 'progress'.

        Hmm, yeah progress like carcinogenic pesticides, nuclear waste, Facebook etc. Not all "progress" is beneficial to mankind but is just there to sell "stuff" and generate profit while having a negative impact on mankind or just be plain fucking useless.

  8. SVV Silver badge

    What's the problem?

    Surely the forecasters can simply log onto the new superfast 5G network with their smart devices and use the Weather app like everybody else?

  9. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Nail-Biting Stuff

    ...have sent letters to US comms watchdog the FCC asking it [PDF] to scale back or stop plans to auction off 5G spectrum to cellular operators because it will likely interfere with their systems...


    ...the FCC wants to sell off, at vast profit...


    Almost impossible to predict the outcome.

  10. A. Lewis

    Why. Just why?

    Why is there such a push on 5G?

    4G is amply good enough. In a decent coverage area, 4G will consistently give greater bandwidth than the average UK home broadband connection. Enough even for 4K kitten videos! Why on earth do the government seem to think we need a new 5G network, instead of perhaps just expanding the 4G one?

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Why. Just why?

      Because 5 is bigger than 4, duh!

      It should be obvious that , if we have 5 then we're better than everyone who only has 4. Besides, since 5 is 20% bigger than 4, the phone companies can charge 30% MORE for it.

      ...and, after all, isn't that what REALLY matters?

    2. NiceCuppaTea

      Re: Why. Just why?

      Being able to pluck a few hundre megabit out of the air is a lot cheaper than having to lay proper telecoms infrastructure to remote homes and businesses. In one fell swoop at least the UK govt can hit their target of having "super fast broadband" available to the whole UK population by allowing mobile co's to put up a few more masts and sell 5G routers as static internet connections.

  11. Chris Evans

    And in the UK and Europe...

    I presume there is the same problem?

    1. Gnoitall

      Re: And in the UK and Europe...

      Most likely, but specific testimony in this case wouldn't be about European networks, since FCC rulemaking and bandwidth allocation has nothing to do with Europe.

      Assuming 5G uses the same spectrum world 'round, EUMETSAT's Meteosat family have downlink frequencies in the same place as NOAA's satellites (in the frequency band under discussion or immediately adjacent), used for the same reasons. So same problem as NOAA's rightfully complaining about.

      Not just weather sats, though: all current satellite navigation systems use adjacent frequencies in this same frequency band, so if 5G gets deployed big expect GPS/GALILEO/GLONASS to get harder to use or slower to lock.

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