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Geography

Ocean Mapping: Seabed 2030 Project

  • 25 Jun 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, it was announced that mapping of nearly one-fifth of the world’s ocean floor had been finished under the Seabed 2030 Project.

Key Points

  • Seabed 2030 Project:
    • Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation of Japan and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO).
    • It was launched at the United Nations Ocean Conference in June 2017 and is aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
      • The United Nations Ocean Conference intended to be a game-changer in reversing the decline in the health of the ocean for people, planet and prosperity.
    • The project aims to bring together all available bathymetric data to produce the definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it available to all.
      • Bathymetry is the measurement of the shape and depth of the ocean floor.
    • In the past, satellites and planes carrying altimeter instruments have been able to provide large swathes of data about the ocean floor.
    • However, the Seabed 2030 Project aims to obtain higher quality information that has a minimum resolution of 100 metres at all spots, using equipment such as deepwater hull-mounted sonar systems, and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).
  • Importance of the Study of the Ocean Floor:
    • Helps in understanding several natural phenomena, including ocean circulation, tides and biological hotspots.
    • Provides key inputs for navigation, forecasting disasters, exploration for oil and gas projects, building offshore wind turbines, fishing resources, and for laying cables and pipelines.
    • Ensure a better understanding of climate change.
      • Climate change has impacted the flow of ocean currents and has led to sea-level rise.

General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans

  • GEBCO is the only intergovernmental organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.
  • It traces its origins to the GEBCO chart series initiated in 1903 by Prince Albert I of Monaco.
  • It aims to provide the most authoritative publicly-available bathymetry of the world's oceans.
  • It operates under the joint auspices of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) (of UNESCO).
    • The IHO is an intergovernmental organization that works to ensure all the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters are surveyed and charted. It was established in 1921.
    • India is its member.
    • The IHO Secretariat is hosted by the Principality of Monaco.

Source: IE

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