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Telecom Cables Wanted For Climate Research 48

Posted by timothy
from the mind-if-we-borrow-this? dept.
schliz writes "Oceanographers have called for telecommunications companies to use their active and retired submarine fibre to collect climate data. Sydney University's John You says voltmeters could simply be attached to cable landing stations to measure ocean currents via the electromagnetic current that they generate. More information about salinity and seismology could be collected by attaching sensors to repeater boxes that are typically installed every 100km of cable to amplify signals. Because fibre optic cables could remain under the sea for decades, they could be a consistent, continual source of data for researchers."
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Telecom Cables Wanted For Climate Research

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  • Bad idea (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What if we found out something we really don't want to know?

    • Re:Bad idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by segin (883667) <segin2005@gmail.com> on Friday August 13, 2010 @01:04AM (#33236198) Homepage
      It's a hell of a lot better than not knowing.
      • Re:Bad idea (Score:5, Funny)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday August 13, 2010 @02:37AM (#33236460)
        Yep when Godzilla wakes up we need to know if he's moving towards Tokyo or New York.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oiron (697563)
      ...said the ostritch as it burrowed its head into the sand...
      • by M8e (1008767)

        1. Ostriches don't burrow their head into sand.
        2. Ostriches can't speak.

        Sorry if you really didn't wanted to know that.

        • by oiron (697563)

          Yeah yeah... I know that ostriches don't really bury their heads in the sand, and that lemmings don't really commit suicide by jumping over a cliff.

          Way to miss the content and beat the crap out of the form.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      What if we found out something we really don't want to know?

      - That's weird ...
      - This volt-meter needle makes a fapfapfap-motion.

      *investigation starts*

      Turns out it was god sitting at the bottom of the ocean masturbating in front of a huge pile of drown kittens.

      • by aliquis (678370)

        ... including ceiling cat! Turns out God doesn't like to be watched doing the dirty either.

        Curiosity killed the cat!

    • by mvdwege (243851)

      Then we get 'auditors' telling us it doesn't really exist. In other words, business as usual.

      Mart

    • What if we found out something we really don't want to know?

      There is no such thing.

  • In before "Who's on first?" joke!
  • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gazoogleheimer (1466831) on Friday August 13, 2010 @01:30AM (#33236266) Homepage
    The summary differs with a significance from the article to a somewhat unusual degree... No, it's not really workable with how the systems are currently set up. Yes, there is a possibility for infrastructure (at significant cost) to be colocated on these lines for data-gathering purposes.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      The summary differs with a significance from the article to a somewhat unusual degree

      This your first day here?

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Makes me wonder if the US military doesn't do that already. An extension of the SOSUS system.

  • Sea plow? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They do know they plow the cables into the sea bed floor. Something like 2m down. How is buried in the dirt/mud/sand going to read ocean currents, temp, salinity etc?

    • Re:Sea plow? (Score:4, Informative)

      by NoMaster (142776) on Friday August 13, 2010 @03:09AM (#33236534) Homepage Journal

      They do know they plow the cables into the sea bed floor. Something like 2m down.

      Only where practicable / desirable - usually on the continental shelves & near the coast, where there's a danger of it being snagged by a fishing trawler or anchor.

      AFAIK, the record depth for burying cable is still ~1600m [southerncrosscables.com]. By comparison, the average depth of the Atlantic is apparently 3339m [wikipedia.org], and the Pacific ~4100m [wikipedia.org]

  • It's interesting, because the property of photo-resistive substances/elements was discovered when the selenium-based components of an early voltimeter was being used to while the first (or least one-of the first) trans-Atlantic Telecom cables was being laid. The gear would give different readings whenever the door of the equipment room.*

    *to not be guilty of outright plagiarism, I got this from Tim Hunkin the highly-understated host of the secret life of machines.

  • I first read it as "...Sydney University's John You says volunteers could simply be attached to cable landing stations to measure ocean currents via the electromagnetic current that they generate..."

    Mine's more interesting.

  • Those cables are for sending that pr0n to me, high speed from the USA, land of the free - not for proving anything scientific; besides I can lookup 'climate change' on Google or Bing or even Slashdot and hey presto - all the pros and cons are already there including lots of data (which paradoxically I could download but that would use more electricity which would probably come from a coal fired or gas fired electricity station nearby)?

    Who do these scientists think they are, telling me that their scientific

  • Accoring to TFS, fibre optic cables can lie around for years collecting data, which is measured by voltmeters sensing magnetically-induced currents.

    Since when can you induce measurable currents in glass and plastic this way?

    I would find TFS far more believable if this was being done to copper wires.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      you ever run Long Reach cable?

      the optics are broken at intervals, and repeaters are installed to carry the signal over the remaining distance.

      the repeaters require power, so a few high voltage copper lines are run with the fiber.

      the fiber would provide a wonderful data path, while the redundant power lines would provide both working current as well as the required loop for detection.
  • "You was part of an international group of oceanographers..."

    My first reaction was to twitch, then I realized what was going on.
  • This museum [porthcurno...eum.org.uk] has a fascinating collection of things to do with undersea communication, focusing on the early telegraph lines. A number of cables come ashore at the museum site, and they've hooked some of them [*] up to an amplifier and loudspeaker. The currents induced in the cable form sounds that vary from noise to eerie wailings.

    * copper cables that are no longer in use

  • If these voltmeters had been up and running in the gulf before the spill, could they have somehow informed us about the size or the spread of the spill?

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