Ocean Floor to Be Fully Mapped by 2030, Passes 20% Mark

Ocean Floor to Be Fully Mapped by 2030, Passes 20% Mark
Image by joakant from Pixabay

Isn’t it intriguing that we’re planning missions to the Moon, yet we have only mapped 20% of the ocean floor on our planet? 

Water covers around 70% of the Earth’s surface, and experts are attempting to map every inch of it. On June 21st (World Hydrography Day), researchers have announced that they’ve mapped about 20.6% of the Earth’s total undersea area, which is nearly one-fifth of the goal.

The Seabed 2030 project seeks to map 100% of the worldwide ocean floor by 2030, relying heavily on crowd-sourced data from corporations, private boat owners, and science vessels all over the world. 

Only 6% of the oceans had been mapped when Seabed 2030 was announced in 2017. The team has completed an additional 1.6% of the global ocean map over the last year, covering an area “about half the size of the United States.”

Thanks to data supplied by millionaire explorer Victor Vescovo and the crew of his ship, the DSSV Pressure Drop, recent coverage includes several of the most difficult to reach regions on Earth. 

Vescovo performed a personal trip in September 2019 to dive to the deepest locations in all five of Earth’s oceans. After about ten months, the team’s missions mapped a region the size of France, more than half of which was unfamiliar to many. 

According to the Seabed team, a thorough understanding of the ocean floor is essential for various scientific and commercial endeavors.

Creating these maps can potentially show previously unknown patterns in ocean floor currents, driven by seafloor topography changes. In addition, they can help us better understand and prevent natural disasters, such as destructive tsunamis.

On the commercial side, accurate seafloor maps can help ships navigate more effectively. That will help with reducing water pollution and destroying natural habitats. Furthermore, they can also help with projects like laying cables and building pipelines.

Because the ocean plays a significant role in transferring heat across the Earth, reliable data about currents can help climate change models. 

The Seabed team believes that the project will attain 100% coverage of the ocean floor by 2030. If you’re curious about the progress, check in again next year on World Hydrography Day for further project updates.

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