The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is concerned that the outcome of a major radiocommunication conference may have an adverse impact on future Earth observation satellite systems.
According to the WMO, the race to release 5G technology threatens to squeeze out other radio-frequency dependent technologies, including the world’s critical national severe weather early warning systems.
The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) on November 22 agreed on the allocation of bandwidths of the world’s radio spectrum. This is a limited resource because emerging technologies like 5G mean demand is now over stripping the limited supply. The conference agreed to protect the microwave bands that support their life-saving severe weather early warning systems, but with time-limited provisions, which leaves the future of these systems uncertain.
“This WRC-19 decision has the potential to significantly degrade the accuracy of data collected in this frequency band which would jeopardize the operation of existing Earth observation satellite systems essential for all weather forecasting and warning activities of the national weather services,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas.
“Potential effects of this could be felt across multiple impact areas including aviation, shipping, agricultural meteorology and warning of extreme events as well as our common ability to monitor climate change in the future,” he added.