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International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO)

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The International Bathymetic Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) was initiated in 2006 and has the objective to design and implement an enhanced digital database that contains available bathymetric data south of 60°S and to develop a consistent bathymetric chart of the Southern Ocean based on this data.

The bathymetry of the Southern Ocean is of great importance for the modelling and understanding of ocean gateways and barriers, the nature of the thermohaline circulation with Antarctic bottom water formation, and the relevance of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current for Antarcticas glaciation. The sea floor topography controls ocean circulation and ocean mixing - and has strong influence on global climate.

The Alfred Wegener Institute chairs the IBCSO and, in addition, is the Southern Ocean Regional Center for the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project, creating valuable synergies between Seabed 2030 and complementary regional mapping initiatives within GEBCO.

The IBCSO program is endorsed by international organizations such as the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) as an Expert Group under the GeoSciences Group.

The GEBCO global grid uses the IBCSO V1 grid as its source of data in the Southern Ocean region. Version 1 of the IBCSO Grid was released in 2013.

Find out more about the IBCSO from the web pages hosted by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).