Arctic Seafloor Mapping Data Processing and Dissemination
The reduction in Arctic summer sea-ice cover observed over the last decades allows for new shipping routes, new fishing grounds and cruise tourism opportunities. Thus, as part of the Arctic Blue Economy strategy, the shipping, oil and gas exploration, mining, fisheries and tourism sectors have been identified as areas of important potential economic growth in the Canadian Arctic. The integration of multiple spatial datasets from the marine environment is therefore needed for a sustainable management of offshore resources in the Canadian Arctic. Combining acoustic mapping of the seabed relief, surface sediment composition and subsurface sediment records can provide invaluable information to understand the geological processes shaping the seafloor, to assess natural hazards and coastal habitats and to document the evolution of sea surface conditions, as well as aid the development of the Arctic Blue Economy. In this context, the overall objectives of this cutting-edge Arctic research program are to 1) perform detailed mapping of the Arctic Canada
Seafloor and adjacent coastal areas as an aid in understanding potential marine geohazards, minimize potential hazards to navigation, establish seafloor habitat characteristics, and improve the bottom boundary of Arctic Ocean modelling, 2) better document the age and origin of Canada’s Arctic seafloor using a multidisciplinary approach that contributes to the development of a robust geological and paleoenvironmental framework, and 3) develop data dissemination tools to
link the acoustic data products with the Arctic seafloor mapping user communities. Taken as a whole, this research program will update and significantly improve the existing seafloor mapping coverage, provide foundational seafloor characterization for habitat and ocean modelling, improve navigation safety, and unravel the fundamental processes controlling the sediment and climate dynamics across the entire marine Arctic Canada. Finally, this research program
will provide a dynamic training environment for highly qualified personnel, with access to expertize in various fields of ocean mapping and marine geology, and hands-on training on ship-based seafloor mapping and coring operations.