Monday, May 27, 2019

"NOAA warns of threat to weather forecasts from 5G spectrum"

From the American Institute of Physics, Physics Today, May 24:

The agency’s administrator testified to Congress that the harm to weather models could set forecasters back decades.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration remains at an impasse with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over how to protect weather satellite observations from interference by 5G telecommunications equipment.

At a hearing by the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment on 16 May, acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs warned that US weather forecasting capabilities could be severely degraded if the FCC proceeds with its plans for green-lighting transmissions within a 24 GHz spectrum band that it recently auctioned to telecommunications companies. He said NOAA and NASA have concluded that the out-of-band emissions limits set by the FCC are insufficient to prevent interference with weather satellites’ ability to detect water vapor. He reported that the FCC has taken issue with the input parameters NOAA and NASA used when modeling the interference effects.

Meanwhile, the FCC is facing pressure from Congress to address the concerns raised by NOAA, NASA, and other parts of the scientific community. Leaders of several committees have urged the FCC to reconsider its approach to opening up the 24 GHz band, which includes frequencies as low as 24.25 GHz. Weather satellites detect 23.8 GHz emissions from water vapor in the atmosphere.

Jacobs explained that subject-matter experts from NOAA, NASA, and the FCC have been studying the issue since 2017 but have yet to reach agreement on appropriate limits on out-of-band emissions—signals that spill over from a particular frequency bandwidth but nonetheless contribute to the quality of the transmission....