Art met science when researchers put together the first digital map of our planet’s seafloor since the 1970’s and will now be used as a tool to combat global warming. The last known version made over four decades ago was hand-drawn and no longer held an accurate representation of what’s happening beneath our planet’s waters.
So, the partnership between National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the University of Sydney has seen to use receiving what is an quite accurate view of 70% of our very own Earth, that holds vital information about the effects of climate change and hopeful knowledge toward providing better protection in the future.
Over the course of 50 years, researchers have gathered 15,000 samples of the seafloor through cruises and ships monitoring the activity within the waters. They were able to create a proper algorithm that accurately explained the quantity of phytoplankton, called diatoms, which are photosynthesizing micro-organisms that make up for 25% of our oxygen.
It’s a key combatant against global warming, more important than most of the plants found on the surface. Their remains sink onto the ocean floor, locking away carbon, which allowed researchers to depict an accurate concentration of the micro-organisms idling on the seafloor.
According to lead author, Adriana Dutkiewicz, it would further aid researches in better understanding the carbon cycle within our planet’s waters, and it has already tossed a few assumptions to the side.
Previous mapping had that the entire Southern Ocean around Australia estimated to be littered with clay blown off from the continent’s surface, but instead, it has now been revealed that it’s actually quite a complex patchwork of microfossil remains. There is much information to aid us not only for the future of our planet, but also details about its past as well.
The carbon and calcium rich sediments released by sea creatures such as corals, mollusks and other micro-organisms could offer us clues about the ocean’s past acidity due to their sensitivity to pH. It can tell us how the ocean has reacted to climate change and perhaps hint at what is to come.
Global warming is currently one of our planet’s most serious problems and many environmentalist organizations are attempting to curb its effects. The geological map of our ocean’s floor is a step in the right direction in gathering more information about one of our planet’s biggest resource of oxygen.
Since it’s a matter that affects every single one of us, the researchers have made the map available for the public.
Image source: worryandpeace.com