One-Fifth of Earth's Ocean Floor Is Now Mapped Out

That's about twice the size of Australia.
Fabienne Lang

We're one step closer to better understanding our planet. 

An impressive collaboration that is working towards mapping out the entire ocean floor has triumphantly managed to carry out one-fifth of its mission. The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project announced on Sunday, World Hydrography Day no less, that it has mapped out an area roughly double the size of Australia. 

The project launched in 2017 when it had 6% of our ocean floors mapped out, today, it has now advanced to 19%.


Still a fair amount of work to do

Even though the fantastic news has pushed the project forward there is still 81% of the planet's ocean floor to map out. That's why the project currently has 133 official partners, contributors, and supporters, and is still looking for more. It's a joint effort that will enable this project to reach its final goal. 

One such collaboration includes Ocean Infinity's robot boats that can get to hard-to-reach zones of our oceans without putting the lives of humans in danger thanks to its Armada of unmanned robot ships.

"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," said James McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director, in a press release.

The strong international collaborations have assisted in moving the project further, and Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa, explained there are three main areas that the project needs further assistance on in order to meet its promise by 2030.

These include: supporting the mapping of unexplored areas, collecting data through crowdsourcing, and advancing technology for data collection.

Why is this project important?

Mapping out the ocean floor will heighten our understanding of some core processes our planet undergoes, such as ocean circulation, weather systems, sea-level rise, tsunami wave propagation, tides, sediment transport, benthic habitat distribution, and climate change. 

It'll also further assist in the work towards conservation and sustainability that revolve around our oceans.  

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