Science News Roundup: American Airlines warns 5G may result in 'major operational disruptions'; Explainer-Do 5G telecoms pose a threat to airline safety? and more

American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour on Tuesday told employees the company expects the airline industry “will experience major operational disruptions” if new 5G wireless deploys on Wednesday. “Until a long-term technical solution is developed and implemented and as long as 5G is deployed, we anticipate we’ll experience delays, diversions and cancellations that are well beyond our control,” Seymour said in a note to employees. “The entire U.S. airline industry is facing major disruption as new wireless technology is activated.”

Explainer-Do 5G telecoms pose a threat to airline safety?

The chief executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines have warned of a “catastrophic” aviation crisis this week as AT&T and Verizon deploy new 5G services. They said the new C band 5G service set to begin on Wednesday could render a significant number of aircraft unusable, causing chaos for U.S. flights and potentially stranding tens of thousands of Americans overseas.

Explainer-Scientists struggle to monitor Tonga volcano after massive eruption

Scientists are struggling to monitor an active volcano that erupted off the South Pacific island of Tonga at the weekend, after the explosion destroyed its sea-level crater and drowned its mass, obscuring it from satellites. The eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, which sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, sent tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean and was heard some 2,300 kms (1,430 miles) away in New Zealand.

Verizon will limit some 5G deployment near airports

Verizon Communications said Tuesday it would temporarily limit some 5G deployment around airports, in a move aimed at averting a major aviation safety crisis. Verizon said it “voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports” but would still launch its 5G Ultra Wideband network Wednesday. The announcement follows AT&T’s decision earlier Tuesday to halt some tower deployments near airports.

Europe’s EV drive comes with environmental, social risks, Stellantis CEO says

The European Commission’s strategy to phase out combustion engines in favour of electric vehicles is a political choice that carries environmental and social risks, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in an interview with European newspapers. Since merging Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot to create the world’s No. 4 carmaker by production, Tavares has mapped out a 30 billion euro ($34 billion) electrification plan that helped Stellantis shares surge more than 60% in their first year.

Ozone harms East Asian crops, costing $63 billion a year, scientists say

Fossil fuel emissions aren’t just driving climate change and worsening air quality, they’re also hurting crop yields enough to cause some $63 billion in annual losses in East Asia, scientists say. With high levels of ozone pollution, China, South Korea and Japan are seeing diminished yields in wheat, rice, and maize, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Food.

Poland raises cybersecurity terror threat after Ukraine cyber attack

Poland on Tuesday raised its nationwide cybersecurity terror threat in the wake of a cyber attack on Ukraine last week, adding that the new alert level was preventative. Last week, Ukraine was hit by a cyber attack that warned Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst” as the country braces for a possible new military offensive from neighbouring Russia.