The 5G technology is currently being considered by almost all mobile operators and it appears that the wide scale 5G technology implementation is just a few years away. However, once the 5G networks become global, weather forecasts might not be so accurate.
South Korea and the United States have already implemented commercial 5G networks in some areas and they will be followed by China and Japan and the number of countries that will implement the 5G technology will continue to grow.
The growth of the 5G technology is generally considered a very good thing, which brings extraordinary speed and connectivity, superior to what we’re encountered so far. However there are some areas which might be negatively affected by the implementation of the 5G technology and the weather forecasting field is one of them.
To better understand the impact the new 5G technology might have on weather forecasts we should understand how weather forecasting works.
The weather is the result of the differences between air masses, mostly. Pressure, temperature and humidity influenced by solar energy are important factors that determine how clouds appear, they decide when and where clouds appear and the direction of the wind.
Basically, everything there is on Earth ( plants, soil, water, atmosphere gas ) absorbs and releases microwaves. Measuring these microwaves is something satellites are doing which, after multiple operations, manage to determine what’s happening in the atmosphere.
For water vapors, satellites are using 23.8 GHz frequencies which have a lot of chances of recording interference from the 5G networks because they will use close frequencies.
Recording wrong or incomplete information regarding water vapors in the Earth’s atmosphere might lead to inaccurate weather forecasts. Right now the correct recording of water vapors reduced the risks of weather forecasting errors by 17%.
One example of the important of reading the water values correctly is provided by the hackaday website. In 2012, hurricane Sandy moved north west after hitting the Eastern coast of the United States, hitting the city of New Jersey. The authorities were however prepared to deal with this because weather forecasting people were able to predict this after obtaining information provided by water vapors. Without them initial forecasts showed that the hurricane will end in Maine.
One thing we do know for sure: the 5G networks are coming even if the weather forecasting systems are not yet ready for this and we think companies that are working to implement the 5G networks will have to make sure that there won’t be any interference with the world’s weather forecasting systems.