Challenges In Sharing Weather Satellite Spectrum With Terrestrial Networks

When: Friday, March 27, 2015

Where: Choate Room, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

On Friday, March 27, 2015, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) hosted a luncheon panel discussion from 12:00pm to 2:00pm EST on  “Challenges In Sharing Weather Satellite Spectrum With Terrestrial Networks” in Washington, DC.

In order to meet the growing demand for wireless broadband connectivity, the U.S. government is developing strategies to share radio frequency spectrum between federal and commercial users. Spectrum historically reserved for broadcasting meteorological satellite data to users from the current generation of polar-orbiting satellites was recently auctioned nationwide by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for over $2.4 billion. Federal regulators are now studying additional bands that may be shared in a future spectrum auction, including those currently used to download weather data from NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) and for the future GOES-R series.

If GOES downlink spectrum is selected for sharing, there is a possibility of radio frequency interference between the new terrestrial commercial broadcasts and the existing satellite broadcasts that may render the satellite-received data unusable or degraded. Such interference could have significant impacts on the GOES-Variable (GVAR), GOES-R GOES Rebroadcast (GRB), the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) -  which is used to support first responders around the country, High-Rate or Low-Rate Information Transmission (HRIT or LRIT), as well as relay of hydrometeorological data from the GOES Data Collection System (DCS), used for monitoring and warning of floods.

A panel of experts discussed these issues, including the motivation for the sharing, potential impacts to end users of any interference, and options for mitigating potential interference.


  • Mr. Jack Brown, Director, Arlington County Office of Emergency Management
  • Dr. Carol Anne Clayson, Senior Scientist in the Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
  • Dr. Mike Johnson, Satellite Team Lead, Office of Science and Technology, National Weather Service, NOAA
  • Mr. David Lubar, Radio spectrum management specialist in the GOES-R Program Office, The Aerospace Corporation
  • Mr. Robert Mason, Chief,  USGS Office of Surface Water, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Mr. Mark Mulholland, Chief Systems Engineer, Office of Systems Development (OSD), NOAA
  • Mr. Mike Steinberg, Senior Corporate Consultant, AccuWeather

Event Materials


 An audio recording of the event can be found here.

A full transcript of the event can be found here.

For any questions, please contact SWF Washington Office Director Victoria Samson

Last updated on April 17, 2015