Posted 30 декабря 2021,, 07:18

Published 30 декабря 2021,, 07:18

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Disaster Damage: World Nearly Left without Internet in 2021

Disaster Damage: World Nearly Left without Internet in 2021

30 декабря 2021, 07:18
In an underwater canyon off the coast of West Africa, there was the most powerful underwater avalanche in recent centuries. Scientists state this natural disaster almost left the world without the Internet. The total damage to the global economy from natural disasters in 2021 will amount to more than $ 170 billion.

Sergey Kron

According to BBC New s , such an unusual phenomenon was recorded in January last year, but scientists from the UK, France, Germany and Angola have only now decided on some preliminary conclusions. It took them time to adjust the equipment broken by a powerful avalanche and process the data. Together with the inventory of oceanographers, the underwater communications system was damaged, which is responsible for the transfer of 99% of all electronic data in the world.

More than one cubic kilometer of sand and mud descended to the depth of the canyon. The natural phenomenon lasted two days and covered an area exceeding 1.1 thousand kilometers of the Atlantic Ocean floor.

As it turned out, there are many underwater canyons at the bottom of the oceans. The depression, originating at the mouth of the Congo River, where the descent took place, is one of the largest in the world. Usually this is a V-shaped depression, the depth of which is a thousand meters or more relative to the bottom.

This phenomenon would not have come to the attention of scientists if the moving sand did not cut two underwater communication cables, which disrupted the Internet throughout the territory between Nigeria and South Africa. Special devices, laid along the entire length of the canyon, help to measure the speed of movement of sediments and their mass.

Scientists believe that the movement of the most powerful stream was provoked by two factors. The first is an extremely severe flood in the Congo River in December 2019, about two weeks before the start of the movement of the underwater mass. Such floods occur about once every 50 years and bring large amounts of sand and mud to the river mouth. Then, unusually strong ebb and flow began in January.

BBC reporters talked about another interesting observation by scientists, which may explain why some cables break and others do not. This is due to the fact that the avalanche interacts with the bottom surface in different ways at different sections of its path: somewhere it completely destroys its layers, somewhere it slips, leaving behind an extra layer of sand.

"This new data will be used by the communications industry to create new routes along the ocean floor to bypass areas with the greatest risk of erosion, harmful to technology," said Mike Clare, a marine geologist at the UK's National Oceanographic Center.

The importance of underwater communications systems, through which 99% of intercontinental data exchange is carried out, cannot be overestimated. For example, money transfers around the world alone are worth trillions of dollars a day!

According to CBS News , experts from the British group Christian Aid, an organization dedicated to developing measures for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and disaster relief, have compiled a list of the most costly environmental disasters for countries in 2021. Among them, there is no mention of an underwater avalanche off the coast of West Africa. But in the first place - Hurricane Ida, which appeared in the eastern United States at the end of August. Caused $ 65 billion in damage. Flooding in Germany and Belgium in July. Damage - $ 43 billion. Flooding in China's Henan province in July. Caused $ 17.6 billion in damage.

Floods in Canada and South Sudan, the tropical cyclone Amphan that hit India and Bangladesh in May, and spring frosts in France caused serious losses. Each of the natural disasters is estimated at several billion dollars.

Compared to 2020, the total damage to the economies of countries increased by $ 20 billion and amounted to $ 170 billion.

In fact, this amount is several times more, experts noted, since it is possible to assess the real damage from cataclysms only in developed countries - only there the infrastructure is insured. But the financial losses of developing countries are often impossible to calculate.