How Climate Change Could Reshape the Internet Ecosystem, Too

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Melting icecaps may make it possible for cables to run directly from Asia to Europe, bypassing North America.

cablesclimate-body.jpg

Normally, when we talk about the new routes through the Arctic that global warming may enable, we're talking about cargo shipping lanes, but a new article in Network World claims that a warming Earth may open up new undersea telecom routes, too. The new undersea cables aren't being driven by a need for more capacity, but rather to reduce latency in the network.

There is also discussion that unprecedented, previously unfeasible, Arctic routes now may be possible, because of melting Arctic icecap. These would allow traffic to flow from Asia directly to Europe, bypassing North American networks completely.

This is yet another way that our climate impacts the landscapes of our world, even the ones that you don't think of, like the geography of Internet traffic.

Via Evgeny Morozov


Image: atlantic-cable.com.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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