Radio-Frequency Interference (RFI) Workshop

ECMWF | Reading | 13-14 September 2018

Workshop description

International and national regulation governs the allocation of microwave spectrum for a range of purposes, including earth system science including weather prediction and climate monitoring. There are many competing and important application areas. For regulators to make an informed decision about allocations, including maintaining existing allocations, they need up to date and well documented evidence of the economic and societal value of the bands in different application areas. This workshop will provide an opportunity to re-examine these economic and societal values.

Operational and research applications in meteorology, climate and hydrology have many requirements, and a number of bands are allocated exclusively to this, with many more having a shared allocation with other applications. These include bands for: telecommunication to share meteorological observations, including conventional and satellite observations; active remote sensing e.g. weather radar, radio occultation, scatterometer and SAR; passive applications e.g. microwave sounders and imagers.

Periodically NWP centres measure the value of all these data types in terms of forecast skill and results are shared, for example through the WMO Observation System Experiment workshops organised by the WMO expert team, C-SEIS (Coordinators on Scientific Evaluation of Impact Studies). However the additional steps to estimate individually the impact of specific bands is done less often and furthermore the step to turn impact on forecast skill into economic and societal impact is itself difficult. These additional steps are needed to give frequency managers and regulators information about the value to earth science when band allocations are discussed. It can not be assumed that the value of numerical weather forecasts, and is reliance on microwave spectrum, is self-evident.

In this short workshop we invited Centres to provide their latest information, presented as concisely as possible, and then discussed the steps to produce an up to date and thorough account of the value of these bands. Further to discuss how such a document can be maintained and kept up to date. The output of the workshop was therefore a plan to create this document, with some of the inputs needed already identified, and commitments to provide the remainder.