Weekly CASPO Seminar: Join us in Nierenberg 101 every Wednesday at 3:30 pm to hear about the latest and greatest in Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography!
Dr. Bruce Howe (UH Manoa) will present a talk titled "SMART subsea cables monitoring climate, mitigating disasters, and learning about the interior of the earth"
Monitoring the deep ocean is essential to understanding environmental changes and addressing their societal impacts, but systematic observations remain inadequate at the needed quality and time scale. To address these observational needs, the SMART Subsea Cable initiative is working to combine the dual missions of telecom and science/early warning: Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecommunications. The initiative is led by a Joint Task Force sponsored by three United Nations agencies, the International Telecommunications union, the World Meteorological Organization, and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (ITU/WMO/IOC JTF). Such SMART cables would “piggyback” sensors on the power and communications infrastructure of a million kilometers of undersea fiber optic cable and thousands of repeaters to create a global deep ocean monitoring network at a modest incremental cost. Initial sensors would measure temperature, pressure, and acceleration, and would be designed to integrate into off-the-shelf repeaters for deployment on future cable systems without impacting the commercial telecommunications mission.
The synoptic data from SMART cables would provide the scientific community with long-term sustained quality and standards-based measurements from the under-sampled deep oceans, including seismic data sampling the earth’s interior and contributing to a better understanding of source parameters. These data could enhance global ocean observing and tsunami and seismic warning networks and are critical to determine cause and effect of pressing issues such as sea level rise, ocean warming and circulation, and hazard early warning, as well as providing information essential for improving associated numerical models that society relies on.
The recent OceanObs19 conference produced the recommendation: Transition telecom+sensing SMART subsea cable systems from present pilots to trans-ocean and global implementation, to support climate, ocean circulation, sea level monitoring, and tsunami and earthquake early warning and disaster risk reduction.
While the ultimate goal is to implement SMART capability on a significant fraction of the global submarine cable network, it is recognized that, as we transition from concept to pilot, we must start small in and between favorably disposed countries, such as in the south Pacific, the maritime continent, and the Pacific rim of fire where the risks of tsunamis and earthquakes and sea level rise are high. A wet-demonstration project off Sicily is funded, and a pilot between New Caledonia and Vanuatu is in the process of obtaining a final increment of funding. Telecom regulatory agencies, multilateral development banks and governments are proactively becoming involved with industry, seeing the mutual benefits of the shared infrastructure combination, both financially and for society.
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