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Scientists Use A Fibre Optic Cable To Study Arctic Seafloor Permafrost

Arctic Seafloor Permafrost

According to a study conducted by the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), “The Arctic is fast becoming an important areas for climate change research. The harsh and remote, which is warming four times than the rest of the Earth, is changing rapidly.”

They further said, “Studying the region is challenging due to the harsh climate conditions. But now they are using an existing fiber optic cable off Oliktok Point on the North Slope of Alaska to study the conditions of the Arctic seafloor up to 20 miles from shore.”

As per the news release from SNL, “The goal is to determine the seismic structure of miles of Arctic seafloor. Christian Stanciu, project lead, recently presented their latest findings at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco earlier this month. SNL says using an emerging technique, scientists can spot areas of the seafloor where sound travels faster than on the rest of the seafloor, typically because of more ice.”

How does this technique work, according to Jennifer Frederick, a computational geoscientist, the technique is called distributed temperature sensing. The technique is “Permafrost and bouncing laser light shots. To study permafrost on the Arctic seafloor, the researchers used pulses of laser light shot down a submarine telecommunications fiber optic cable buried off the coast of Alaska, running north from Oliktok Point. Tiny imperfections in the cable caused light to bounce back to a sensor system, the news release explains. By capturing this light at two wavelengths, or colors, and comparing them, the researchers could determine the temperature of the cable every yard.”

Stanciu explained, “One of the innovations of this project is that we can now use a single fiber to get acoustic and temperature data. We developed a new system to collect both types of data remotely using one fiber strand. We’re getting some interesting results.”

Frederick said, “The fact that we can monitor the temperature continuously, we can now pick up changes from year-to-year and season-to-season. We’re specifically looking for unexplainable warm spots. We think we’ll be able to see areas of seafloor seeps – somewhat like springs coming out of the ground, except on the seafloor. We’re interested in them because they’re carriers of deeper, carbon-rich fluids and are an indication of warming and change.”

Nabamita Sinha
Nabamita Sinha loves to write about lifestyle and pop-culture. In her free time, she loves to watch movies and TV series and experiment with food. Her favorite niche topics are fashion, lifestyle, travel, and gossip content. Her style of writing is creative and quirky.

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