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Nearly a Quarter of the World’s Ocean Floor Now Mapped Under Seabed 2030 Project (1) [2022/07/25]
GEBCO_2022_2021_TID_comparison_2_0.jpg
Image shows areas of the global seafloor that are considered mapped within the GEBCO grid. The regions colored grey depict the coverage of mapped areas within the 2021 release of the GEBCO Grid and the areas colored red show the additional coverage included in the 2022 release.
Credit: The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Global Center (GDACC) on behalf of Seabed 2030.


The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project, which aims to complete the mapping of the world’s entire ocean floor by 2030, has announced that nearly a quarter of the task has now been accomplished.

The latest GEBCO Grid figure now stands at 23.4 per cent, reflecting an increase of 10.1 million square kilometers of new bathymetric data from last year’s figure. This increase, primarily through newly opened archives, rather than active mapping efforts, is equivalent to an area around the size of Europe, and slightly larger than the Sahara―Earth’s largest hot desert.

Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project launched in 2017 between The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) to inspire the complete mapping of the world's ocean by 2030, and to compile all bathymetric data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map. GEBCO is a joint program of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), and is the only initiative with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.

The latest figure was announced by Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, at Seabed 2030’s official side event at the second UN Ocean Conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 29. (He spoke on my behalf as I had to go into quarantine after being informed in the morning I had tested positive for COVID-19.) Seabed 2030 was launched five years ago at the first-ever UN Ocean Conference in New York.

“Despite covering over 70 percent of the planet, our knowledge of what lies beneath the blue surface has been severely limited. Without this crucial information we cannot possibly set about having a sustainable future−a complete map of the ocean floor is the missing tool that will enable us to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, including climate change and marine pollution. It will enable us to safeguard the planet’s future,” he said.

A complete map of the seabed is needed for a host of reasons, not least for the future of humanity. The ocean drives global systems that make Earth habitable for us−oxygen, drinking water, much of our food, and the climate are ultimately regulated and provided by the sea. Ocean floor topography also helps identify underwater hazards and inform sustainable marine resource management and infrastructure development.

Seabed 2030 Project Director Jamie McMichael-Phillips welcomed the data increase: “It is encouraging to see this growth in bathymetric data despite the challenges facing ocean mapping, which were undeniably exacerbated by the pandemic.

“As we make headway with the Ocean Decade, we look forward to accelerating our efforts to recoup time and effort lost last year. The progress we have made since 2017 is commendable, but we are mindful of the task still ahead and eager to realize it.”

The Ocean Decade, of which Seabed 2030 is a flagship program, is a major initiative by the UN to mobilize governments, the private sector, scientists, and civil society to co-design and co-deliver transformative knowledge-led actions to reverse the decline in the health of the ocean and make a change in the sustainable management of the marine environment.

(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 17:07 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
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