SubCableWorld has been reporting on the Scientific Monitoring and Reliable Telecommunications (SMART) cable concept for many years.  The SMART concept would allow commercial submarine telecom cables to collect vast amounts of data from the ocean floor in real-time, without interfering with their primary purpose of transmitting Internet data around the world. 

The scientific data would be fundamental for a better understanding of the ocean and climate and, by providing warnings of approaching tsunamis, contributing to the safety and security of populations living in areas of high risk.  Thus SMART cables can play a dual role of advancing our scientific knowledge and providing a life-saving service, all while the cables are improving global communications for billions of people.

As part of our continuing efforts to bring this important concept to as wide an audience as possible, we are providing coverage of a recent virtual event entitled SMART Cables in a Sea of Connectivity; Serving Science and Populations.  ANACOM, Portugal’s telecommunications regulatory authority, organized the event in partnership with the Portuguese Government (Sea Area), the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, the Portuguese Committee for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute (IPMA).  Portugal is at the forefront of making SMART technology a reality with the CAM Ring, a new submarine cable that will connect mainland Portugal with the Azores and Madeira Islands by 2024. 

We previously covered Yasser Omar’s presentation, The new CAM Ring as a SMART Cable.  In this article, we are looking at Luis Matias’ presentation, Contribution of a SMART CAM Ring to Earthquake Monitoring and Early Warning.  Luis, who is with the Instituto D. Luiz, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, spoke about the need for submarine-cable-based technologies for tsunami warning.  He noted that current, land-based warning systems suffer from a deficient coverage of offshore events due to the absence of sensors on the ocean floor, close to the tectonic sources.  Sea-level and seismic observations at the deep offshore in real-time are needed to improve tsunami warning time. 

Luis and his team created a scenario comparing the new CAM submarine cable using SMART technology to the current land-based tsunami warning system.  CAM is a proposed domestic cable system connecting mainland Portugal with the Azores and Madeira islands that is planned for 2024.  The scenario assumed 47 Universal Cable Observatories (UCOs) placed along the CAM ring at approximately 70-kilometer intervals.  Each UCO is considered to be equipped with 3C ground motion sensors and 1 absolute pressure gauge

The scenario showed that the improvement on the tsunami early warning time using SMART is significant (greater than 10 minutes versus current warning methods) in a wide area between 23ºW and Portugal mainland and Morocco coastal areas. The area of improvement includes all zones that have generated tsunamis, as presented in the Portuguese tsunami catalogue (Baptista and Miranda 2009), the whole Gloria Fault east of the Azores and the Gulf of Cadiz. For a large domain in the Gloria Fault and SW Gulf of Cadiz, the gain on the tsunami early warning time is greater than 30 minutes.

Luis’ conclusion is that the SMART-CAM cable ring provides significant improvement on earthquake monitoring on the two most hazardous source areas: SW Portugal mainland and the western Gloria Fault with activity affecting the Azores.  The SMART-CAM cables provide significant gain in the Tsunami Warning time for the most active offshore source areas.

This is the second of a series of articles in SubCableWorld highlighting information from the ANACOM event.  We will have more shortly, including more information about the CAM Ring and other potential SMART cable projects.  For more information about SMART technology, click here.  To view all of the presentations from this event, click here.