Rising Seas from Climate Change may Affect Internet Use

A study predicts optic internet cable damage will be sustained within the next 15 years at the current rate the oceans are rising due to climate change.


There are few issues as polarizing today in the world than climate change. Even as progressive as the Trump Administration is on the country’s seemingly many issues they seem to have turned their back totally on climate change. And why not, whether as an American you believe in climate change or not you are fairly well insulated from its effects. After all, a rising black sea bass population off the coast of Maine or a slight shift in sea turtle eggs to female eggs is hardly anything that most of us get concerned about. So what will it take to get more people aware of the impact of climate change? Maybe going without internet for a substantial period of time will do the trick.    

A recent study conducted by a college research group concluded that the buried fiber optic cables that carry internet and other means of communication up and down the east and west coasts could be greatly impacted if the oceans continue to rise due to climate change. This could potentially result in huge and lengthy internet outages. 

Who Conducted The Study That Revealed This Climate Change Information? 

The study was done by a research group from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This study was first presented to a group of industry professionals and other academic researchers at the Applied Networking Research Workshop in Montreal, Canada on the 16th of July.  

The study predicted that much of this buried fiber optic cable damage will be sustained within the next 15 years at the current rate the oceans are rising due to climate change. The report stated that according to their data the increased water level due to climate change will impact some 4000 miles of buried coastal fiber optic cable. The cities that would most likely be affected the most as of right now are New York, Miami and Seattle. 

It does not take much to submerge these cables either as many thousands of miles of them were buried relatively close to the shorelines. That means ocean waters only have to rise several inches to totally submerge these fiber optic cables in many areas. 

The Big Problem with the Existing Internet Cables 

Most of the fiber optic cables that were laid along the coast were done so 20 – 25 years ago. At that time climate change was far from being a mainstream subject and was but a blip on the information radar. So when the cables were buried little thought was given to the fact that they might be totally submerged under water one day. This is a potentially huge problem because the cables that were buried are water resistant and not waterproof like heavier internet cables that are intentionally run under water. 

That means that once these cables sit in water long enough they will become totally saturated. After that happens it’s probably only a short amount of time before the buried communication cables start to rapidly deteriorate. Once that happens either huge sections of cable will need to be rerouted and redone or alternate routing of the internet and other communications that travel on them must take place.  

The expense of this undertaking could be enormous not to mention how difficult it will be since we are talking about thousands of miles worth of buried fiber optic cables. 

The Problem Goes Well Beyond Basic Internet Use Too 

Not only internet users will be impacted by the loss of these submerged fiber optic cables either. There are things such as medical equipment that has to communicate with other devices in order to operate properly that will be affected too.  

Many scientists are now under the impression that we must be proactive in getting these many miles of fiber optic cables relocated right away or the impact on communications that will result could be devastating. 

Climate Change Is Here and It’s Real 

Climate change and its impact cannot be ignored any longer. This is just one way that rising oceans and sea levels can affect people all over the world. If you don’t believe what you read here there are many good articles by scientific experts on the internet you can read too. But you better hurry if you are going to read them because if the oceans rise quicker than expected you may lose your internet service then you won’t be able to access them. 






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