Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

U.S. Meteorologists 'Deeply Concerned' Over 5G Roll-Out

Popular
U.S. Meteorologists 'Deeply Concerned' Over 5G Roll-Out
This illustration depicts the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft designed to provide forecasters with crucial environmental science data to provide a better understanding of changes in the Earth's weather, oceans and climate. Ball Aerospace

U.S. weather forecasters are the latest group to sound the alarm that the race to introduce 5G technologies may have adverse consequences.


In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. meteorologists called the potential for 5G mobile technologies to disrupt communication between weather satellites "deeply concerning," according to the BBC.

The letter was signed by the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association and the American Geophysical Union. They oppose a FCC proposal to share a radio spectrum band with mobile companies, arguing that sharing the radio band may lead to a delay in life-saving data, according to Newsweek.

"[Interference will] postpone dissemination of vital information to the public to aid and protect life, property, businesses, and government operations. The loss of seconds can mean the difference between safety and grave risk to life and property," said John Porter, an executive at AccuWeather, in a separate letter to the FCC, as Newsweek reported.

Experts warned that sharing the 1675-1680MHz band could cause delays in public service alerts about severe weather like hurricanes and tornadoes. The letter by the U.S. meteorologists piggy backs on a letter sent to the FCC Chairman by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) asking him not to issue 5G licenses "until the FCC approves the passive band protection limits that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determine are necessary to protect critical satellite‐based measurements of atmospheric water vapor needed to forecast the weather."

Results of the study are expected in 2020.

Wyden and Cantwell said that the "ongoing sale of wireless airwaves could damage the effectiveness of US weather satellites and harm forecasts and predictions relied on to protect safety, property, and national security."

They reprimanded the FCC for beginning the auction "over the objections of NASA, NOAA, and members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). These entities all argued that out-of-band emissions from future commercial broadband transmissions in the 24GHz band would disrupt the ability to collect water-vapor data measured in a neighboring frequency band (23.6 to 24GHZ) that meteorologists rely on to forecast the weather," as Ars Technica reported.

The extent of the radio wave interference will depend on where new 5G networks are, said Prof. William Webb, independent consultant and author of the book The 5G Myth, as the BBC reported.

"If it's only deployed in city centers, it probably won't cause interference," Webb said to the BBC. "But if it's used in large volumes near the meteorological sites then yes it could."

Prominent U.S. agencies are not the only ones asking for more time before 5G licenses are issued. The new mobile technologies have also faced resistance in Europe. In April, Brussels banned the implementation of 5G technologies due to concerns over radiation.

"I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not," said Céline Fremault , Brussels' Environment minister, as the Brussels Times reported. "The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt," she added.

Under the current radiation standards in Brussels, a pilot project is not possible. Fremault said she does not intend to make an exception for faster Internet speed.

However, the GSMA — an organization that represents mobile network operators — believes that 5G services and weather sensing services can co-exist, according to the BBC.

"We cannot allow these scare tactics to prevent us from reaping the huge societal and economic benefits of 5G networks," said Brett Tarnutzer, the trade body's head of spectrum, as the BBC reported. "We urge everyone to simply look at the facts and not get drawn in by misleading rhetoric."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The frozen meat section at a supermarket in Hong Kong, China, in February. Chukrut Budrul / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Imported frozen food in three Chinese cities has tested positive for the new coronavirus, but public health experts say you still shouldn't worry too much about catching the virus from food or packaging.

Read More Show Less
This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Trending

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less