SMART Subsea Cables for Observing the Ocean and Earth

Bruce M. Howe, Christopher R. Barnes, Davie T. Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Joint Task Force (JTF) for Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecommunications (SMART) Subsea Cables will facilitate integration
of sensors into commercial submarine telecommunications cables for climate monitoring and disaster warning. Our vision is a
planetary scale array monitoring ocean heat and circulation and sea-level rise and revolutionizing real-time warning systems for
earthquake and tsunami disaster mitigation. This is enabled by the trans-ocean cable infrastructure linking society together:
1.4 million km of cable, 20,000 repeaters every 70 km hosting the sensors, constantly being refreshed over 10–25 years, without
interfering with telecom. Initial sensors are ocean bottom temperature, pressure and seismic acceleration. System suppliers are on
board, the first major SMART project is funded and underway in Portugal (2020), and seven others are in various stages of planning
and funding—a perfect example of the Blue Economy in action for the UN Decade.
JTF will provide coordination between ocean science, operational oceanography, hazard early warning centers, industry, and relevant
government agencies. SMART cables will create profound opportunities for innovation—requiring people with appropriate depth
and breadth of expertise. JTF will facilitate SMART cable projects that will catalyze and include education, training, and outreach
programs to build necessary capacity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-63
Number of pages2
JournalMarine Technology Society Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


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