How Your Mobile Phone Helps A Hurricane: For those who find themselves in the path of a tropical storm, most instinctively seek adequate shelter and queue up their favorite weather app in order to track the storm.
But what if your phone was actually making it harder for scientists to accurately assess the storm’s path?
That’s exactly the issue that has weather experts at odds with the cell phone industry, as they contend that 5G networks will have far-reaching impacts on current storm tracking practices.
Last year, Neil Jacobs, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, testified before Congress that the lightning-fast 5G wireless networks that telecom companies are scrambling to implement will actually decrease the accuracy of current forecasting methods by as much as 30%.
The reason is that meteorological tracking is currently done using satellites, and the 5G networks will almost certainly interfere with them. One expert told National Geographic that space along the electromagnetic spectrum is at a premium.
Where once space for climate applications was kept far away from that needed for consumer communications, now “the sandbox is full.”
The FCC recently auctioned off some space for 5G near an area that scientists currently use to track water vapor in order to predict the path of tropical storms, and they’re worried that interference from the 5G usage will leak into this critical space.
If it does, accuracy will take a significant hit because the quality of the signals for scientists will degrade to levels we saw as far back as the 1970s.
Experts say that will reduce lead time on storm forecasts by up to three days.