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3rd ITU/WMO/UNESCO IOC Workshop on Propelling a
Pilot Project on Green Cables



Draft Programme 

Understanding the deep ocean is indispensable to sustaining humankind on planet Earth and avoiding major disruptions to the climate and life systems, yet only limited funds are dedicated to collecting data in the deep ocean and at the seafloor. A new generation of scientific cabled ocean observatories is emerging at a few selected sites, but there is a need and opportunity to extend observations and monitoring over much wider area of the global oceans.

Submarine telecommunication cables equipped with sensors to measure key variables such as water temperature, pressure and acceleration on the ocean floor are viewed as vital to monitor climate change and to provide tsunami warnings.

Developing such a real-time ocean-wide monitoring system of green cables is a bold vision that has full chances for success. Some pioneering scientific observatory projects have already proven the concept, launching ambitious initiatives in small regions of the deep ocean.

This JTF Workshop in Madrid in September 2013 workshop focuses on the strategic steps for the pilot project to facilitate the deployment of dual-purpose submarine telecommunication cables in the high seas. It will explore scientific and societal needs, new engineering technology requirements sensor standards and testing protocols, business opportunities, and legal implications, all to promote the development of submarine telecommunication cable projects that wish to be equipped with a suitable suite of sensors.

Thursday, 19 September - Friday, 20 September (morning) 2013

08:30 – 09:00


​09:00 - 09:15

Opening Ceremony

09:15 - 9:30 ​

Summary of the objectives, activities and future plans of the ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force to investigate the potential of using submarine telecommunications cables for ocean and climate monitoring and disaster warning (JTF) 

0​9:30 - 9:45

Keynote speech:

​9:45 - 11:00

Session 1: Key scientific questions being addressed, latest ideas of most suitable sensors, limiting factors

The Science and Society Committee has developed draft texts for a JTF White Paper dealing with the key scientific issues of the climate, tsunamis, and seismic hazards. Looking towards advancing the science in the future when there is access to green cables: how could large numbers of sensors advance climate and tsunami science; what would be the most suitable sensors; what would be key limiting factors; how best to advance the operational uses of the green cable data (e.g. rapid hazard response, finite-fault analysis of earthquakes for tsunami warning). The management of green cable data can be accommodated by the substantial capabilities that currently exist to both achieve and distribute scientific climate, tsunami, and earthquake data through existing data centres.

Moderator: Chris Barnes, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, Canada and Chairman of the JTF [ Biography ]


​11:00 - 11:30

​Coffee Break

​11:30 - 12:30

​Session 2: Latest ideas on possible options for designing the green cable, limiting factors

The Engineering Committee has been exploring options for designing the green cables and possible limiting factors. What is the current thinking of industry for modifying cables or repeaters to incorporate suitable sensors? Specifically, for the pilot project: what are the engineering requirements, and what would be the scope and the costs of the wet demonstrator phase. The work would incorporate sensor recommendations from the Science and Society Committee and this workshop. The wet demonstrator could deploy a full-suite of science sensors on an industry system or on one of the existing science cabled observatories, but including communications and packaging that would test a dual-use deployment. The latter option could be completed in 1-2 years.

Moderator: David Meldrum, Research Fellow, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and JCOMM Observations Programme Area (UNESCO-IOC) [ Biography ]


​12:30 - 13:30

Session 3: Open Discussion

Moderator: David Meldrum, Research Fellow, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and JCOMM Observations Programme Area (UNESCO-IOC) [ Biography ]

​13:30 - 14:30

​Lunch Break

​14:30 - 15:30

​Session 4: Protocols and schedule for testing the green cable in tanks and then on a cabled observatory and possibly on a new cable deployment

This session will examine in more detail the options discussed in Session 2. What options or offers exist to test the green cables industry tanks or on new cable deployments. Are there options or advantages to use scientific cabled observations? What specific protocols need to be addressed and what schedule opportunities exist in the near future?

Moderator: Christian Meinig, Director of Engineering, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States [ Biography ]


​15:30 - 16:30

Session 5: Potential industry support and concerns, input and partnership

What are the benefits, interests and concerns of industry in green cables and in the pilot project in particular? What balance does industry see between commercial, operational and public service benefits of green cables ? What suitable partnerships could be developed between industry, government, academia and NGOs? How can JTF and its three sponsoring agencies foster that collaboration?

Moderator: Kent Bressie, Partner and Head of International Practice, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP [ Biography ]


​16:30 - 17:00

Coffee Break ​

​17:00 - 18:00

​Session 6: Estimates of required funding for green cable, modifications, sensor suite and tank/ observatory testing

What are the estimated costs expected to be incurred, and over what timeframe, in a) the testing and b) the development phases of green cables? What density of sensors along a green cable is desirable and what would be the incremental cost? What are the relative costs of testing the pilot project by industry (direct or in-kind costs) versus a scientific cabled observatory?

Moderator: Chris Barnes, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, Canada and Chairman of the JTF [ Biography ]


​18:00 - 18:30

Session 7: Open Discussion

Moderator: Chris Barnes, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, Canada and Chairman of the JTF [ Biography ]

​09:00 - 10:00

​Session 8: Business Plan: potential sources of funding and in-kind support for pilot project and also for overall JTF project support

What are the main elements of a Business Plan that would secure adequate funding or in-kind support for both the green cable pilot project and the activities of the JTF? What could be the potential balance of support fro industry, government, academia and NGOs. Are there special grant application opportunities within, for example, the EU Commission, the US National Science Foundation, or other foundations and funding agencies?

Moderator: Peter Phibbs, Mallin Consultants Ltd. [ Biography ]


​10:00 - 10:30

​Coffee Break

10:30 - 12:30
​12:30 - 13:00

​Closing Ceremony

​13:00 - 14:00

​Lunch Break

​14:00 - 17:00

​JTF Plenary Closed Meeting for all JTF members