ABSTRACT: The advent of the first cabled ocean observatories, with several others being planned, demonstrates the challenges, benefits and opportunities for ocean science and commercial applications. Examples are drawn primarily from NEPTUNE Canada (NC), which completed installation of the subsea infrastructure and 60 diverse instruments in 2009, with 40 more in 2010, thereby establishing the world's first regional cabled ocean observatory, northeast Pacific Ocean, off British Columbia's coast. Initial data flow started in December 2009. Another 30 instruments will be deployed in 2011-12. Introducing abundant power and high bandwidth communications into a range of ocean environments allows discrimination between short and long-term events, interactive experiments, real time data and imagery, and complex multidisciplinary teams interrogating a vast database over the observatory's 25-year design life. Scientific priorities and observatory node sites were identified through workshops. Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks designed, manufactured and installed the 800km backbone cable and five nodes (stepping 10kV DC to 400V DC). Node sites are located at the coast (Folger Passage), continental slope (ODP 889; Barkley Canyon), abyssal plain (ODP 1027), and ocean-spreading ridge (Endeavour), in water depths of 100-2660m. Principal scientific themes are: plate tectonic processes and earthquake dynamics; dynamic processes of seabed fluid fluxes and gas hydrates; regional ocean/climate dynamics and effects on marine biota; deep-sea ecosystem dynamics; and engineering and computational research. The Data Management and Archive System (DMAS) provides controls for the observatory network and transparent access to other data providers using interoperability techniques within a Web 2.0 environment. Users can perform data visualization and analysis on-line with either default or custom processing code, as well as simultaneously interacting with each other. Oceans 2.0 is adding tools to perfo-
rm software-aided feature detection and classification of sounds in acoustic data streams. New knowledge and scientific interpretations are addressing important science applications of the observatory: ocean/climate change, ocean acidification, recognizing and mitigating natural hazards, non-renewable and renewable natural resources. Challenges are considerable: technical innovations, enlarging the user base, management, funding, maximizing educational/outreach activities. Socio-economic benefits are substantial: not only the transformation of ocean sciences but with many applications in sectors such as sovereignty, security, transportation, data services, and public policy. Opportunities for commercialization of technologies and data services/products are being facilitated by the Centre of Enterprise and Engagement (www.onccee.ca) within Ocean Networks Canada (www.networkscanada.ca) that manages the NC and VENUS observatories (www.neptunecanada.ca; www.uvic.venus.ca). Cabled ocean observatories are transforming the ocean sciences and will result in a progressive wiring of the oceans. They are designed to be expandable in footprint, nodes and instruments, and the range of scientific questions, and to provide facilities for testing technology prototypes. They will provide a wealth of new research opportunities and socio-economic benefits.
Underwater Technology (UT), 2011 IEEE Symposium on and 2011 Workshop on Scientific Use of Submarine Cables and Related Technologies (SSC); 05/2011