Seabed 2030 Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Seabed 2030 Project

Mains level: Ocean-floor study and its significance

The Seabed 2030 Project has finished mapping nearly one-fifth of the world’s ocean floor.

The ocean relief can be divided into various parts such as Continental Shelf, Continental Slope, Continental Rise or Foot, Deep Ocean basins, Abyssal plains & Abyssal Hills, Oceanic Trenches, Seamounts and Guyots.

Revise these ocean bottom relief features from your basic references.

Also revise India’s Deep Ocean Mission.

The Seabed 2030 Project

  • The global initiative is a collaboration between Japan’s non-profit Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO).
  • It is the only intergovernmental organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor and traces its origins to the GEBCO chart series initiated in 1903 by Prince Albert I of Monaco.
  • The project was launched at the UN Ocean Conference in 2017, and coordinates and oversees the sourcing and compilation of bathymetric data from different parts of the world’s ocean.

What’s so special about this project?

  • In the past, satellites and planes carrying altimeter instruments have been able to provide large swathes of data about the ocean floor.
  • The Seabed 2030 Project, however, aims to obtain higher quality information that has a minimum resolution of 100 m at all spots.
  • It is using equipment such as deepwater hull-mounted sonar systems, and more advanced options such as Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).
  • For this, the project aims to rope in governments, private companies, and international organisations to acquire data.

Progress of the project

  • Since the launch of the project in 2017, the surveying of the ocean bed as per modern standards has gone up from around 6 per cent to 19 per cent.
  • The project has added 1.45 crore square kilometres of new bathymetric data to its latest grid.

Why is the study of the ocean floor important?

  • Ocean topography: The knowledge of bathymetry — the measurement of the shape and depth of the ocean floor, is instrumental in understanding several natural phenomena, including ocean circulation, tides, and biological hotspots.
  • Navigation: It also provides key inputs for navigation, forecasting tsunamis, exploration for oil and gas projects, building offshore wind turbines, fishing resources, and for laying cables and pipelines. This data becomes highly valuable during disaster situations.
  • Climate Change study: Importantly, the maps would also ensure a better understanding of climate change, since floor features including canyons and underwater volcanoes influence phenomena ocean currents. These ocean currents act as conveyor belts of warm and cold water, thus influencing the weather and climate.
  • Marine conservation: A map of the entire global ocean floor would also help further achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2012:

Q.Consider the following factors:

  1. Rotation of the Earth
  2. Air pressure and wind
  3. Density of ocean water
  4. Revolution of the Earth

Which of the above factors influence the ocean currents?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 4

(d) 2, 3 and 4

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