Loss of satellite tv for pc observations from spectrum interference might threaten public security, financial development

Jul 20, 2021

by David Hosansky

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States should defend radio frequencies which might be important for weather forecasts and understanding the local weather system, NCAR Associate Director William Mahoney advised the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology right this moment.

Mahoney, a meteorologist and expert in forecasting techniques wanted to guard life and property, testified at a committee hearing, “Spectrum Needs for Observations in Earth and Space Sciences.” His remarks got here as meteorologists and different atmospheric scientists have raised growing issues that transmissions of 5G networks will intrude with satellite tv for pc observations, considerably degrading weather forecasts, impairing our means to advance our information of the Earth system and put together for local weather change.

“At a time of increasing weather hazard vulnerability, it is imperative that critical Earth observations be protected from interference,” Mahoney stated in his ready remarks. “The impact of lost Earth observing data could be catastrophic for the nation.”

Weather satellites measure and transmit water vapor knowledge, a central ingredient for correct forecasts, at a frequency of 23.8 GHz. The knowledge will likely be susceptible to interference if wireless corporations start utilizing the 24 GHz band and different close by frequencies for 5G expertise, as anticipated by the Federal Communications Commission and the worldwide company that regulates international telecommunications. Meteorologists can not change to a special a part of the spectrum as a result of Earth’s pure emissions happen solely at sure frequencies.

William Mahoney
William Mahoney

The U.S. Government Accountability Office launched a report yesterday recommending that the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Commission replace or make clear their processes to reduce the dangers of spectrum interference.

Mahoney warned that the lack of Earth system knowledge might additionally have an effect on pure catastrophe danger discount and homeland safety and protection operations.

“The significant progress that has been made in recent years in weather forecasting skill is largely attributable to these observing technologies and the use of Earth observations in weather prediction models by forecasters and the atmospheric science research community,” Mahoney advised the committee. “The socioeconomic benefits associated with the meteorological use of radio frequency spectrum are central to the success of society and must be accounted for in optimal spectrum management.”

“Critically, virtually every sector of the nation’s economy is weather-sensitive and any degradation of Earth observation data for scientific and operational uses can be expected to have significant negative financial and safety impacts,” he added.

The committee additionally heard from Andrew Von Ah of the Government Accountability Office, David Lubar of the Aerospace Corporation, Jordan Gerth of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Jennifer Manner of EchoStar Corporation/Hughes Network Systems.

Read the transcript of Mahoney’s prepared testimony.

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