So much depends on our ability to forecast the weather. At first, Hurricane Harvey didn’t look too bad. In Houston, the City’s Integrated Warning Team kept watch but were not worried. What had first appeared to be nothing too threatening had become extraordinarily ominous: hundred-thirty-mile-per-hour winds and forty-five inches of rain in a swirling cascade heading toward the mid-Texas coast.
“Harvey was incredible because of how it intensified as it approached land,” said Jordan Gerth, a research meteorologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center.” Coastal Community residents were barely given enough time to escape. 68 people died.
Observing water vapor is critical to forecast the atmosphere’s future. But, according to federal agencies and meteorologists worldwide, 5G signals obstruct the collection of this atmospheric data from weather balloons, hurricane hunter airplanes and polar-orbiting satellites that are equipped with highly sensitive microwave sensors accustomed to the vibrations of the water vapor molecule.
Mary Cuddehe wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review that “knowing how much water vapor there is tells us about shifts in the sea surface, lands caught in drought, and the polar ice caps…It is also critical to warning the public to take cover from a hurricane.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that a reduction in water vapor data could reduce hurricane forecasting by two or three days, particularly in big cities like Greater Houston rolling out 5G.
In separate testimony before Congress, the heads of NOAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stated that 5G deployment would, without adequate limits, put weather and climate data at risk. Neil Jacobs, NOAA’s acting administrator, also said the effect “could take forecasts back some forty-odd years, to a time when broadcast meteorologists could rarely forecast major storms more than three days out.”
5G threatens weather forecasting.
In 2017, NOAA produced a study showing that the development of 5G would be disruptive the development of 5G would be to meteorological satellites. NASA also conducted its own research and verified NOAA’s study. The US Navy has also verified NOAA’s research.
Yet President Trump tweeted “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible.” And Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, formerly and in-house lawyer for Verizon Communications, set off to “aggressively” campaign for 5G.
On March 8, the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang published a story of the exchange between the FCC, the US Department of Commerce and NASA, writing that “this dispute boils down to, in essence: “What’s the bigger priority – the 5G network for wireless providers or providing accurate weather forecasts?”
Dano, a reporter for Light Reading, told Ms. Cuddehe: “Trump talks about the race for 5G; what they’re talking about is economics.”
The information in this article has been extracted, abbreviated, and paraphrased by an article written by Mary Cuddehe in the Spring 2020 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. Ms. Cuddehe has written for Harper’s, Rolling Stone, The Atavist, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School.