How rising seas could cause your next internet outage

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world wide flood

How rising seas could cause your next internet outage

By Greta Jochem   

 You probably didn’t give much thought to how exactly you loaded this webpage. Maybe you clicked a link from Twitter or Facebook and presto, this article popped up on your screen. The internet seems magical and intangible sometimes. But the reality is, you rely on physical, concrete objects — like giant data centers and miles of underground cables — to stay connected.

All that infrastructure is at risk of being submerged. In just 15 years, roughly 4,000 miles of fiber-optic cables in U.S. coastal cities could go underwater, potentially causing internet outages.

That’s the big finding from a new, peer-reviewed study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Oregon. To figure out how rising seas could affect the internet’s physical structures, researchers compared a map of internet infrastructure to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s predictions for sea-level rise near U.S. coasts…