Accurate bathymetry is the foundation for much of ocean science and policy.
Bathymetric data, which includes information about the depths and shapes of underwater terrain, has a range of uses:
- Nautical charts are based on data acquired during bathymetric surveys. These charts guide mariners much as road maps guide motorists, ensuring safe and efficient maritime transportation.
- Bathymetric maps are increasingly important as scientists learn more about the effects of climate change on the environment. Bathymetric surveys can alert scientists to ongoing and potential beach erosion, sea-level rise, and subsidence (land sinking). Scientists also use bathymetric data to create hydrodynamic models.
- Bathymetry is a key element of biological oceanography. The depth and characteristics of the seabed define the habitat for benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms, and are fundamental parameters of marine ecosystems. Scientists use high-resolution bathymetry to help determine where fish and other sea life will feed, live, and breed.
Compiled by Paul Johnson
#charts #maps #nautical #oceanography #NOAA