Headline: SMART Subsea Cables for Observing the Earth and Ocean, Mitigating Environmental Hazards, and Supporting the Blue Economy

The Joint Task Force, Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecommunications (JTF SMART) Subsea Cables, is working to integrate environmental sensors for ocean bottom temperature, pressure, and seismic acceleration into submarine telecommunications cables. The purpose of SMART Cables is to support climate and ocean observation, sea level monitoring, observations of Earth structure, and tsunami and earthquake early warning and disaster risk reduction, including hazard quantification. Recent advances include regional SMART pilot systems that are the first steps to trans-ocean and global implementation. Examples of pilots include: InSEA wet demonstration project off Sicily at the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water column Observatory Western Ionian Facility; New Caledonia and Vanuatu; French Polynesia Natitua South system connecting Tahiti to Tubaui to the south; Indonesia starting with short pilot systems working toward systems for the Sumatra-Java megathrust zone; and the CAM-2 ring system connecting Lisbon, Azores, and Madeira. This paper describes observing system simulations for these and other regions. Funding reflects a blend of government, development bank, philanthropic foundation, and commercial contributions. In addition to notable scientific and societal benefits, the telecommunications enterprise’s mission of global connectivity will benefit directly, as environmental awareness improves both the integrity of individual cable systems as well as the resilience of the overall global communications network. SMART cables support the outcomes of a predicted, safe, and transparent ocean as envisioned by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the Blue Economy. As a continuation of the OceanObs’19 conference and community white paper (Howe et al., 2019, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00424), an overview of the SMART programme and a description of the status of ongoing projects are given.

Publication Year
Publication Type
Academic Articles

Howe, B. M., Angove, M., Aucan, J., Barnes, C. R., Barros, J. S., Bayliff, N., Becker, N. C., Carrilho, F., Fouch, M. J., Fry, B., Jamelot, A., Janiszewski, H., Kong, L. S. L., Lentz, S., Luther, D. S., Marinaro, G., Matias, L. M., Rowe, C. A., Sakya, A. E., Salaree, A., Thiele, T., Tilmann, F. J., von Hillebrandt-Andrade, C., Wallace, L., Weinstein, S., & Wilcock, W. (2022). SMART Subsea Cables for Observing the Earth and Ocean, Mitigating Environmental Hazards, and Supporting the Blue Economy. Frontiers in Earth Science, 9: 775544. doi:10.3389/feart.2021.775544.

Staff involved