Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea
July 13, 2011

Authors: Beaman, R.J.

Year: 2011

Publication: AMSA 2011, 3-7 Jul 2011. Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA), Fremantle, Australia.


The problem: A high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) is a vital dataset required to accurately simulate water mixing and current flow within a whole-of-Great Barrier Reef (GBR) scale hydrodynamic model. The finer-scale detail of the undersea landscape underpins the ability of the hydrodynamic model to resolve the effects of coral reefs and inter-reefal passages on water circulation. There is also a critical lack of information about the location and spatial extent of deep-water ecosystems and habitats in the GBR and Coral Sea. Therefore, key seabed geomorphic features remain largely hidden from view and outside of effective management.

The solution: Project 3DGBR has developed a new high-resolution DEM for the GBR and adjoining Coral Sea at a grid pixel resolution of 0.001-arc degree (~100 m). The geographic coverage ranges from latitude 10° to 29° South, longitude 142° to 160° East. Including the Queensland hinterland, the new grid represents an area of about 3,000,000 km2. The project utilised the latest data sourced from ship-based multibeam and singlebeam echo sounder surveys, airborne lidar bathymetry surveys, and satellite remotely sensed imagery. The new grid is called gbr100 and is a significant improvement on current bathymetry grids.

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