5G Could Interfere with Predicting Weather Patterns

New 5G technology is supposed to give faster data speeds, but the addition of the signal could actually affect weather forecasts.


New 5G technology is supposed to give faster data speeds, but the addition of the signal could negatively impact weather forecasts. 

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have said that 5G technology will interfere with some of the satellites used to collect weather data. Fifth generation wireless technology, a.k.a., 5G, is expected to work at 24-gigahertz — which is much higher than current 4G networks, and would likely interfere with satellites. 

In March, the Navy sent a letter to the FCC detailing the issues that 5G could pose to meteorologists and scientists. The interference could compromise accurate weather data and in turn create an increased risk for flights, ships, and predictions of extreme weather occurrences. 

While attempts to work on global regulation of 5G have been in the works, some fear that U.S. regulators will not push for strict limits on 5G. Acting administrator of NOAA, Neil Jacobs, said that if 5G’s presence in the high radio frequency band interrupts water vapor readings as much as they think it will, weather forecasts would be as accurate as they were in 1980. 

On December 10, the bipartisan House Science Committee issued a letter of concern saying: “We are deeply concerned about the potential for degradation of our nation’s weather forecasts. Earth observing satellites are critically important for protecting the lives and property of the American people from severe weather.”

5G is supposed to be 100 times faster than 4G and would help aid in the introduction of newer, more automated technologies. Approximately 40 countries, including the U.S., have already rolled out 5G, and it’s expected to become a $565 billion industry by 2034.