Unforeseen circumstance: 5G may reduce the accuracy of weather reporting

As 5G begins to roll-out globally, there will be no shortage of people claiming adverse side effects. You can ignore them, mostly.

I say mostly, as there is one issue that is maybe worth some attention.  Credible experts suggest the frequencies used by 5G may have an affect on the accuracy of weather reports. This Hackaday piece is dense, but clear:

The satellites that watch our weather are largely passive sensor platforms that measure the energy reflected or emitted by objects below them. They gather data on temperature and moisture — pressure is still measured chiefly by surface measurements and by radiosondes — by looking at the planet in different wavelengths. Temperature is measured mainly in the optical wavelengths, both visible and infrared, but water vapor is a bit harder to measure. That’s where microwaves come in, and where weather prediction stands to run afoul of the 5G rollout.


For water vapor, 23.8-GHz turns out to be very useful, and very much in danger of picking up interference from 5G, which will use frequencies very close to that.

I don’t to quote too much of the Hackaday piece, as you should just read it. But, this emphasises the importance of meteorologists having water vapour data:

In late October of 2012, as Hurricane Sandy barreled up the East coast of the United States, forecasts showed that the storm would take a late turn to the northwest and make landfall in New Jersey. An analysis of the forecast if the microwave radiometer data had not been available showed the storm continuing in a wide arc and coming ashore in the Gulf of Maine. The availability of ASMU data five days in advance of the storm’s landfall bought civil authorities the time needed to prepare, and probably reduced the casualties caused by the “Storm of the Century”, still the deadliest storm of the 2012 season.

As I say, worth thinking about from a safety reason, but also a business one – meteorology firms have had to pay big sums to use the spectrum for that purpose, and they’ll likely want to protect that investment, presenting another potential legal hurdle to 5G, especially in the US.

What you can safely ignore, though, are things like this, which I spotted recently in San Francisco’s Haight district:

Probably a lost cause, friend