Underground internet cables criss-crossing coastal regions will be inundated by rising seas within the next 15 years – according to a new study.
Thousands of miles of fibre optic cables are under threat in US cities like New York – Seattle and Miami and could soon be out of action unless steps are taken to protect them.
The report – presented at a meeting of internet network researchers in Montreal – is among the first to reveal the damage a changing climate will cause for the network of cables and data centres that underpins so much of modern life.
What shocked computer scientist Professor Paul Barford and his colleagues most when they investigated the effect of rising tides on US cities was the speed at which the internet will be compromised.
‘Most of the damage that’s going to be done in the next 100 years will be done sooner than later’ said Professor Barford – a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
‘That surprised us.
The expectation was that we’d have 50 years to plan for it.
We don’t have 50 years’.