eGEOTRACES Electronic Atlas

New digital atlas for the ocean


A new three-dimensional atlas shows the concentrations of nutrients and trace elements dissolved in the world's seas. 

The digital maps were released yesterday at the International Ocean Sciences meeting in Hawaii. Using new 3D graphical representation for nutrients and trace elements in the ocean, the electronic atlas was constructed with data from GEOTRACES, an international programme which aims to improve the understanding of biogeochemical cycles and distribution of trace elements in the marine environment. Scientists from approximately 35 nations have been involved in the programme, which is designed to study all major ocean basins over the next decade.

The eGEOTRACES electronic atlas contains animated 3D scenes for a large number of hydrographic parameters as well as trace elements and isotopes measured along GEOTRACES cruise tracks. Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) provided nitrate, silicate and phosphate data which contributed to the stunning new 3D images. PML also worked in close collaboration with Plymouth University, who were responsible for some of the trace metal data presented.

Malcolm Woodward from PML was part of the UK Geotraces cruise team that investigated the 40 degree South Atlantic Ocean transect between South Africa and South America. He commented: 'It did make us very proud to be part of this and for PML to be involved with this global data effort. At the meeting release there were gasps and a spontaneous round of applause when this was revealed to the assembled conference scientists. The data have been very carefully scrutinised and checked by a global committee specifically looking at cross-over stations between different cruises, and data of lesser quality was not included'.


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