KAMPALA — A ‘danger to life’ weather warning for heavy rains and floods is expected as Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) warns of tough times ahead.
UNMA issued a warning for heavy rainfall over the coming season, with flooding possible across over eight agricultural zones throughout Uganda.
The forecast says the onset of the second season has already begun in most parts of the country with those predicted to receive above-normal rainfall exceeding the average amount received over the last 30 years.
This comes few days after the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has urged governments to protect radio frequencies allocated to Earth observation services which are vital for weather forecasts and long-term climate change monitoring.
The ITU body says there needs to be a balance between short term commercial and technological interests and long-term global well-being and safety
Decisions with major repercussions for Earth exploration, environmental monitoring and meteorological satellite operation will be made at the World Radiocommunication Conference from 28 October – 22 November.
The conference, held every three to four years under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), reviews the Radio Regulations which govern the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. It will consider the management of scarce orbit/spectrum resources.
There is growing alarm within the meteorological community that the increasing competition for bandwidths, including from the next-generation mobile phone data service, 5G, may be at the detriment of established applications relating to Earth observation satellites, radiosondes, aircraft, radar and other observing systems.
“WMO obviously does not wish to hamper the rollout of new telecommunication technologies such as 5G. But we are concerned that they should not encroach on the frequencies used by life-saving applications such as weather prediction,” says Eric Allaix, chair of the WMO Steering Group on Radio Frequency Coordination. ?
“There needs to be a balance between short term commercial and technological interests and long-term global well-being and safety. We should not run the risk of reversing many of the gains in our warning services for natural hazards and thus potentially increasing loss of life and property,” said Mr Allaix.
Thanks to timely weather warnings, there has been a big reduction in the loss of life during recent decades. These improvements are directly related to the use of radio frequency based remote sensing feeding directly into numerical weather prediction systems giving more accurate predictions with longer lead periods.
But, there is increasing pressure on the use of radio spectrum from wireless technology and other applications, including International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) services that include new technologies such as 5G.
WMO and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have worked closely over many years to protect these special radio frequencies through ITUs Radio Regulations but it is up to the Members of these organizations to take note of the scientific studies and ensure that appropriate protection is maintained and is sustainable.
These decisions will be taken during the four-week World Radiocommunication Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The event brings together more than 3500 participants from 193 ITU Member States along with 267 members of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) representing international organizations, equipment manufacturers, network operators and industry forums who attend as observers.
“The key to a successful outcome of WRC?19 lies in building consensus on how to balance the demands of the different services that require radio-frequency spectrum, such as aeronautical, maritime, satellite,
broadcasting, Earth observation, mobile broadband, amateur radio and railways,” according to the ITU.
WMO is concerned that the repercussions of decisions at the World Radiocommunication Conference may only become apparent when it is too late to reverse them.
Uganda Communications Communication will represent the country to month long high-level dialogue.