Submarine comms cables for climate monitoring and disaster warning: New publications from ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force
A new ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC study has analyzed potential sources of funding for the use of submarine communications cables in ocean and climate monitoring and disaster warning, finding that the most promising sources of funding appear to be in select development banks, private foundations and government agencies. The ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force responsible for the study will continue to analyze these sources and undertake supporting discussions with relevant decision-makers.
The study on potential sources of funding follows the release of a report outlining the “Functional requirements of ‘green’ submarine cable systems” applicable to optical-fibre submarine cable systems equipped with temperature sensors, absolute pressure gauges and three-axis accelerometers. The requirements outlined by the report identify the minimum capabilities of such systems necessary to ensure that collected data is robust, valid and scientifically useful.
All parties interested in this work are also invited to download a report titled “From space to the deep seafloor: Using SMART submarine cable systems in the ocean observing system”, which offers an overview of the discussions and outcomes of two NASA workshops held as contributions to the work being undertaken by ITU, WMO and UNESCO-IOC.
These reports are products of the ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force tasked with developing a strategy and roadmap to equip submarine communications cables with climate and hazard-monitoring sensors to create a global real-time ocean observation network. Such a network would be capable of providing earthquake and tsunami warnings as well as data on ocean climate change and circulation. Submarine cables are uniquely positioned to glean key environmental data from the deep ocean, which at present hosts very few resources for monitoring the climate. Equipping cable repeaters – instruments that amplify optical signals – with climate and hazard-monitoring sensors would yield data of great value to climate science, disaster warning and the future of our oceans.