The project to map the entire ocean floor by 2030 – Seabed 2030 – marked an important milestone. To date, scientists have received data on 20% of its territory.
About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, and researchers are trying to map every inch of it. Recently, a group of international researchers announced that they have covered about one-fifth of the way to this goal, mapping 20.6% of the ocean floor using modern sonars.
The project, dubbed Seabed 2030, aims to map 100% of the world’s oceans by 2030, using mostly data collected by scientific vessels, corporations and private boat owners around the world. Despite the fact that research has slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has made tremendous strides since its inception, according to the BBC.
Why map the entire ocean? Not to find the lost city of Atlantis (at least officially). A comprehensive understanding of the ocean floor is critical for a variety of scientific and commercial purposes, according to the Seabed team. From a business perspective, good seafloor maps will help ships navigate more efficiently and are useful in cable and pipeline construction.
More importantly, these maps will reveal previously unknown patterns in deep ocean currents that are affected by variations in the topography of the seabed. Accurate information on currents could improve climate change models as the ocean plays a key role in the movement of heat around the Earth.