Last Monday, thousands of Perth, Australia, residents discovered that the Internet had melted. Australia’s second-largest DSL Internet service provider, iiNet, had crumbled under soaring temperatures of up to 112 degrees — Perth’s third hottest January day on record.
A company statement blamed the outage of its Perth data center on the partial failure of both the main and backup air-conditioning systems. Exacerbating the problem was the heat, which caused iiNet to shut down some of its servers as a precautionary measure.
Rising temperatures and other extreme weather caused by climate change are going to have a heavy impact on infrastructure. A 2013 segment on the public radio show Science Friday mentioned, among other concerns, buckling train rails, melting asphalt, and sagging power lines. But we also need to think about the Internet, which provides an irreplaceable backbone to our working and personal lives.
You may not realize it, but extreme weather, the scarcity and the rising cost of water, as well as high temperatures, could be bad business for technology companies. Water is important to the cooling processes of the information and commun... Read more