Climate change increases the need for seabed mapping

Fugro multibeam mapping. Credit: Fugro

With changing storm patterns, coastal infrastructure will have to rely on upcoming technology to map seabed data to prepare for increasing sedimentation

As little as 40% of the seabed is mapped as it is. But as the already locked-in effects of global warming set in over the course of the 21st century, regardless of what humans do in the next 50 years, they will bring with them unstable weather patterns including a greater number of seasonal tropical storms. These will wreak devastation throughout southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, and across the southern United States and the Gulf of Mexico. Various coastal facilities such as ports, refineries, and power stations are therefore, having to draw up plans for how they will protect themselves against such threats.

Less of a threat, though, and more of a nuisance, is the fact that such activity will bring havoc for ports in terms of sedimentation. More storms will dislodge more silt from the seabed, which will cause not only general increases in water turbidity in many areas, but also a greatly accelerated build-up of detritus within harbours.

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