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SCAR GSSG - Expert Group on International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO)


Expert Group on International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO)


Prof Hans Werner Schenke
(Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany)


The topography of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is still largely unknown. Sea floor topographic maps are important for many areas of research and for safe navigation. The survey activities of modern icebreaking vessels during the last decade using multibeam systems have increased the data availability, making it possible for compilations of new bathymetric charts around Antarctica.

Terms of References

The Expert Group on the new International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) will develop new compilations of bathymetric data. The work plan for the proposed IBCSO may be summarized with the following steps:

  1. Building and maintaining of a thorough data base, comprising - all available bathymetric and sidescan data and its meta information - existing digital bathymetric charts - existing marine gravity data, and free-air gravity models from satellite RA
  2. Quality control and assessment, analysis and editing of available bathymetric data
  3. Development of a new method for morphological interpolation of bathymetric contours using sonar data and satellite radar altimetry gravity anomalies
  4. Determination of Digital Terrain Models around Antarctica. One with a resolution of 2.5 x 2.5 km on a Southern Polar Stereographic projection for minimal distortion due to the southerly latitude and one geographic grid with a resolution of 1?x1? that easily can be merged with other global ocean topography products
  5. Creation of a set of 1:1 Million traditional bathymetry sheets in digital form
  6. In areas of systematic areal multibeam surveys large scale bathymetric charts will be prepared.

The IBCSO shall be developed under the auspices and umbrella of the intergovernmental and international organisations IOC, IHO, and SCAR. The following organisations have been contacted in order to set up the IBCSO into an official frame:

  1. IOC Consultative Group on Ocean Mapping (Chairman: Guenter Giermann)
  2. IHO Hydrographic Commission on Antarctica (Chairman: Captain Hugo M Gorziglia)
  3. SCAR ? GSSG as an Expert Group


2005: 2006:

More than 20 countries have expressed their interest in participating in IBCSO. A first product in form of a DEM will be most probably available in 2006.

New Zealand: Vaughan, Fred Davey
Australia: Phil O?Brian, Henk Brolsma, Howard Stagg
China: Dongchen
Japan: Kazuo Shibuja, Shin Tani
India: Panday
South Africa: HO
Italy: Uni Trieste
Great Britain: Larter, Livermore, Morris
France: Moussat
Spain: Canals, Maldonado
Germany: Schenke
Norway: Sand
Russia: Udintsev, Leitschenko, HDNO
Ukraine: Greku
Chile: HO, Vicuna
Argentina: HO
Uruguay: Roldos
Brazil: IPY
United States: Haxby, Cherkis, Divins, Newton, MacGillivary
Canada: Macnab, Taylor