Here’s a side effect of global warming no one saw coming: it could negatively affect Wi-Fi signals. A report from the British Government’s environmental department suggests that higher temperatures as a result of global warming will reduce the range of wireless signals, while storms brought on by climate change will similarly reduce the signals’ reliability.
British Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, said while presenting the report:
If climate change threatens the quality of your signal, or you can’t get it because of extreme fluctuations in temperature, then you will be disadvantaged, which is why we must address the question and just imagine in the height of an emergency if the communications system is down or adversely affected.
It’s not only Wi-Fi that will be hit by climate change; the report also warns of the need to strengthen power cables to avoid sagging, to cover roads with a new surface to protect tarmac (crushed rocks, tar) from melting, and rail-tracks to be made heat-resistant to reduce the chance of buckling. Spelman predicts that £200 billion ($327 billion) will be spent improving infrastructure over the next five years to make these changes, but the question of how to weather-proof Wi-Fi signals remains—pun intended—up in the air.
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