Nearly a fifth of world's ocean floor now mapped in Seabed 2030 Project

written by Oceanographic Staff

The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has announced that nearly a fifth of the world’s entire ocean floor has now been mapped.

An impressive 14.5 million square kilometres of new bathymetric data has now been included in the latest GEBCO Grid, an area twice the size of Australia. Coverage of the seabed has risen from 15% to 19% in the last year. When Seabed 2030 was launched in 2017 with the goal of mapping the entire ocean floor by 2030, only 6% of the oceans had been mapped to modern standards.

The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has announced that nearly a fifth of the world's entire ocean floor has now been mapped. 

“The sustained increase in data available to map the ocean floor will enable Seabed 2030 to play a leading role in delivering a comprehensive set of authoritative data that is freely available for all to use,” said Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director. “This is a leap forward towards achieving our mission, by the year 2030, to empower the world to make policy decisions, use the ocean sustainability and undertake scientific research based on detailed bathymetric information of the Earth’s seabed.”

Seabed 2030 continues to act as a catalyst for the extraordinary and necessary growth in bathymetric data available to all. A complete map of the world’s ocean will provide a better understanding of fundamental processes in the ocean, including circulation, sediment transport, benthic habitat distributions, weather systems, sea level rise, climate change, tsunami wave propagation and the tides.

“My thanks go out to all who have contributed data and technical expertise to bring together this new 2020 Grid. With the support of governments, industry, academia and philanthropy; and by using innovative technology, we anticipate availability of new data to grow on a yearly basis,” added McMichael-Phillips. “It’s encouraging to see what working collaboratively, across the globe, can achieve. Seabed 2030 will continue to seek out new partnerships and technological advancements. Everyone has a part to play in contributing to our ocean mapping journey: a journey that will greatly benefit humanity.”

It was also recently announced by Mr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, that there are three initiatives that need further collaborative activity in accelerating the mapping of the ocean floor – these include supporting the mapping of unexplored areas, collecting data through crowdsourcing, and advancing technology for data collection.

The plan to complete a comprehensive map of the world’s oceans has gathered significant momentum since in the past three years, and the Seabed 2030 now has the support of more than 100 international organisations. The project now has 133 official partners, contributors and supporters – and continues to seek out new collaborations in technical innovation and data collection.

To learn more about the Seabed 2030 Project, click here.

Photograph by Jeremy Bishop.

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