Fiber Optics Helping Scientists in Antarctica

12328959_SThe world is being wired with fiber optic cables, and surprisingly they are being used for more than just telecommunications and wireless internet. A team of scientists has been utilizing an innovative design of fiber optic cables for the past 14 months to measure temperature changes and the ice sheets melting in Antarctica. The West Antarctic sheet they are measuring could end up resulting in the worldwide sea levels rising by more than 3 meters, if it melts fully.

This use of fiber optics isn’t anything incredibly new, as we have been using these types of cables for years when it comes to measuring the temperatures of boreholes for oil and gas companies, but adapting the technology for the extreme weather and cold conditions in the Antarctica is where the true innovation comes in, that all started with measuring temperatures of water in lakes and rivers in Chile at first.

Eventually the technology was brought with an Antarctica team who use the cables to send a pulse down the length of a cable through the ocean below the ice sheet. The result of the pulse lets them see just how much the ice is melting and how fast it is melting daily, which is better than the projected average that the ice is melting which was the only thing we could determine before this.

The entire operation was concluded just last year and only last month finally had a submit to the science journal for review. The result of the team and the technology has already led to more scientists being interested in how they can obtain the fiber optic technology for use in other theories. It just goes to show that fiber optics is changing more than just the internet world for nations everywhere.

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