"Slowly but surely": the global Internet infrastructure threatens the seas and oceans

    Due to global warming, the water level of the seas and oceans is rising. This has the potential to harm IT infrastructure in coastal areas.

    What is the scale of the problem, we tell below.

    / photo Tanguy Domenge CC

    The essence of the problem

    Researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Madison presented an article that warned that rising water levels in the oceans and seas would lead to flooding of 6.5 thousand km of fiber-optic cables in the United States.

    Cables laid on land are less resistant to salt water than they are laid along the bottom of the ocean. They do not have the necessary level of waterproofing, because they do not imply a permanent presence under water.

    Another problem is that together with kilometers of cables, one thousand points of presence (PoP) will go under water . If they are flooded, many territories will be cut off from the rest of the world. According to Paul Barford (Paul Barford), one of the researchers, the IT industry has only 50 years to develop an action plan to save the infrastructure.

    What are the scale

    Scientists compared the map of the network infrastructure presence points (Internet Atlas) with forecasts of sea level rise from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ). Under the water will take 20% of the cables laid in New York, and 32% of the cables that connect the metropolis with other cities and data centers. Seattle, Miami and other localities located on the coast are also at risk.

    Note that according to NOAA, over the past 100 years, the water level surrounding the United States has risen by an average of 30 cm. A rise of 30 cm has been recorded in New York and Boston, by 28 cm in Charleston and by 63 cm in Galveston ( located in the southeast of Texas on the same island).

    As for providers, the components of the IT infrastructure of CenturyLink, Intelliquent and AT & T will be most at risk. According to forecasts, by 2030, 771 points of presence, 235 data centers and 42 traffic exchange points will become “wet”. The scheme of flooded areas and the distribution of risk zones by city can be found on page 4 of the above-mentioned scientific article .

    Of course, the infrastructure of not only American companies will suffer. Ocean waters will threaten coastal areas and lowlands around the world. The ground infrastructure of the most high-performance transatlantic cable Marea , the infamous Sea-Me-We 3, which is constantly failing , and new projects JGA (Japan - Guam - Australia) and SJC2(Japan - Singapore) potentially be at risk.

    Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for the Study of Climate Change ( PIK ) suggest that in 300 years ocean level will rise by a meter and partially flood many coastal settlements: from Shanghai to London and even entire states, for example, Kiribati .

    / photo Wikimedia PD

    What do with it

    As part of the Digital Coast project , which oversees NOAA, researchers developed a strategic plan until 2021 to address the potential for flooding the US coastal regions. One of the results of the project was the implementation of the same name platform for monitoring sea level.

    Researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in their work ( paragraphs 4.2–4.3 ) also offer a number of methods to solve the problem.

    Among them is the implementation of intelligent routing algorithms that, in the event of the failure of an infrastructure node, will redirect traffic. In addition, the researchers recommend doing to strengthen the infrastructure near the water: install breakwater walls, dams.

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