A FIFTH OF THE OCEAN FLOOR IS NOW MAPPED

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A Swedish icebreaker mapping previously uncharted areas of North Greenland. Credit Pro Martin Jakobsson, Seabed 2030

A fifth of the world’s ocean floor has been mapped to modern standards - with an area the size of Australia added in the last two years.

Scientists hope to map 100 per cent of the global ocean floor by 2030. To mark World Hydrography Day on 21 June the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project announced the inclusion of 14.5 million square kilometres of new bathymetric data.

Coverage of the seabed has risen from 15 per cent to 19 per cent in the last year. When Seabed 2030 was launched in 2017, only six per cent of the oceans had been mapped to modern standards.

The effort to complete the map of the world’s oceans has gathered significant momentum since its launch, with Seabed 2030 gaining the support of more than 100 international organisations. The Project now has 133 official partners, contributors and supporters.

Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director, said: ‘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.

‘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.’

However, there is still 81 per cent of the ocean floor to be mapped - an area twice the size of Mars.

 

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