Exploring the ocean floor
03 February 2009
If you could peer beneath the ocean waves and glimpse the seafloor far below, you would see deep basins, vast mountains chains and long trenches. This is known as bathymetry.
Understanding bathymetry helps us understand the rest of the planet as this landscape helps steer ocean currents that in turn affect climate change. It also influences hazards facing coastal communities, such as approaching tsunamis.
The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) community has been working for many years to provide the most authoritative, publicly-available bathymetric data sets for the world’s oceans. The recently released GEBCO 30 arc-second bathymetric grid (GEBCO_08) has been used as a basis for the 3D model of the oceans within Google Earth 5.0, to allow us to view the underwater landscape.
The GEBCO_08 bathymetric grid has been developed using a combination of ship track soundings and satellite-derived gravity data.
The GEBCO_08 Grid and the GEBCO One Minute Grid are both available to download.