Many earth scientists unknowingly use special allocations of spectrum that are reserved for the collection and transmission of hydrometeorological data, particularly involving weather satellites. These allocations, for example, provide rebroadcasts of geostationary weather satellite imagery, transmit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data to academic and industry partners, and enable passive microwave sensing of weather systems over the ocean. Data received through these allocations are paramount to achieving the best possible timeliness and quality of weather forecasts and warnings. Satellite observations of Earth’s atmosphere are a major contributor to weather and climate research, and improve the predictions from numerical weather prediction models.
However, the spectrum allocations for meteorological observations and earth exploration is potentially becoming threatened from proposals to deploy 5G and other advanced networks in adjacent bands, introducing risk and uncertainty for longstanding remote sensing applications. Because scientists and other users of weather data do not typically follow the complex and technical government spectrum proceedings, there is limited advocacy from those who could be impacted most and could best convey the true value of certain spectrum allocations for science.
In order to illustrate the wide range of potential impacts to weather satellite observations and timely earth science data transmissions, this panel, at the 2019 Joint Satellite Conference, discussed various spectrum proposals and how they might impact earth science research and users of earth-observing satellite imagery and products. The panel will also explain the regulatory environment and challenges to a brokered discussion on the relative merits of competing needs for spectrum allocations. It was an opportunity to share information with an international audience of satellite experts across government, academic and private sector audiences. The timing occurred shortly after the close in public comments to the FCC on the NPRM related to GOES real time data access (1675-1680 MHz) and just prior to the start of the World Radio Conference where discussions will include the rules around the global deployment of 5G technologies, including spectrum resources closely adjoining passive remote sensing observations for numerical weather prediction (especially near 23.8 GHz).
More details, can be found at the event page on the SWF website.
Recorded in Washington, DC on September 26, 2019.
Since 2016, Secure World Foundation (SWF) has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to host multiple Space Weather as a Global Challenge events to facilitate discussions on the impacts of space weather across the globe, and plans to collaborate in observation, modeling, prediction, and mitigation of harmful effects. This year’s Space Weather as a Global Challenge will be held in coordination with the Next Step Benchmarks Town Hall, an event that supports the U.S. National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan, on September 26, 2019.
The Next Step Benchmarks is an effort funded by NSF and NASA, and led by the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), that has gathered 32 of the world’s leading space weather scientists to develop recommendations for improving the characterization of extreme space weather events. Initial characterizations of 1-in-100-year and theoretical maximum events for five space weather phenomena were described in the Space Weather Phase 1 Benchmarks report, released by the White House’s National Science and Technology Council in 2018. The Next Step Benchmarks team is developing a public report that will provide recommendations to improve the estimates found in the Phase 1 report. The Town Hall will be an opportunity for the space weather community to provide feedback on proposed recommendations and priorities for studies, data acquisition, and long-term research that would improve the characterization of extreme space weather events.
Following the Town Hall, SWF and the U.S. Department of State hosted an evening panel discussion and networking reception to share the general outcomes of the Town Hall and other U.S. and international space weather initiatives.
More details, including transcripts, can be found at the event page on the SWF website.