Future studies of episodic processes in the ocean and earth will require new tools to complement traditional, ship-based, expeditionary science. This will be enabled through the construction of innovative facilities called ocean observatories which provide unprecedented amounts of power and two-way bandwidth to access and control instrument networks in the oceans. The most capable ocean observatories are designed around a submarine fiber optic/power cable connecting one or more seafloor science nodes to the terrestrial power grid and communications backhaul. This paper defines the top level requirements that drive cabled observatory design and the system engineering environment within which a scientifically-capable infrastructure can be implemented. Commercial high reliability submarine telecommunication technologies which will be crucial in the design of long term cabled observatories are then reviewed. The top level architecture of a generic cabled observatory, describing the main subsystems comprising the whole and defining technological approaches to their engineering, is then described, along with some example design choices and tradeoff studies
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.