The Ocean Cleanup responds to our technical review

Starts at 59:20.


Mrs. Martini and Mrs. Goldstein


P.S. The technical review can be found here.


Dr. Martini (142 Posts)

Kim is a Senior Oceanographer at Sea-Bird Scientific. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington in 2010. Her goal in life is to throw expensive s**t in the ocean. When not at sea, she has used observations from moored, satellite and land-based instruments to understand the pathways that wind and tidal energy take from large (internal tides) to small scales (turbulence). Her current mission is to make your oceanographic data be the best data it can be.

11 comments on “The Ocean Cleanup responds to our technical review
  1. The ease with which Boyan dismisses valid critiques, both from your technical review and the [male] teleconference participant are, frankly, amazing. I’m saddened to think about the science that could be done with the $1.2M he’s crowd-sourced so far. But, what do I know? I’m not even an oceanographer any more…

  2. Hi,

    a few things:

    Some of the negative views here against the ocean cleanup sound too much like coming from people that just want to do business as usual. What’s the problem here? Don’t overcomplicate the idea and necessity of TOC. Of course we have to take the environmental impact into account, but if you look at the boom design, and take the neutral boyancy of marine animals into account,TOC is on a good way.

    1) There is a lot of garbage in the gyre 2) There is a good idea on how to fix the problem 3) It seems to be feasible to clean it up and is being/will be tested with all kinds of scale models 3) Embrace it, go for it!

    The crowd(funding) is behind it and that’s exactly what it needs. Anybody in consevation knows that conserving a charismatic animal is easier than an almost invisible. The crowdfunding helps here a lot.

    Saying things like go to the source of the problem, cleaning up rivers are not really usefull here. Let’s take the source for example. The source is peoples mindsets, economy, politics, law and more complicated things. So, of course we would all like a plastic free world and have people not use plastic bags (and I am sure that TOC will help a lot in this regard as well) but it will be a long! way!

    Here we have the opportunity to do something new and good, and to do it now! Go for it!

    N Mallos comment that he thinks that the time is not right for TOC is a complete mystery to me.

    Of course the feasibility report is not perfect, but that should not be a problem. I am sure it will be revised version soon and Boyans responses were good.

    • Please read our original review, which addresses most of your comment. We certainly hope that Mr. Slat will take our comments into account, but it is our opinion that information contained in this report has not proven that the Ocean Cleanup as currently described is feasible. Moreover, it could actually do harm to marine life if deployed as described.

    • Ditto to what Miriam said below.

      As a coauthor of the zooplankton section in the Feasibility study you should definitely take the time to read our review, which had some problems that Miriam addressed.

  3. The Deep Sea review by oceanographers Martini and Goldstein is right on target, especially with respect to the modelling of maximum wave heights and currents, both of which have direct impact on the static and dynamic engineering analyses that were (mostly not) performed.

    In particular, ocean engineering is one domain where extreme deviations from the mean/median should be considered, as most of the ocean has not actually been directly observed. An appropriate approach is the use of extreme value theory (e.g., Castillo, “Extreme Value Theory in Engineering”, 1988; Lee & McCormick, “Risk and Safety Analysis of Nuclear Systems”, 2011).

    By the way, I practiced as a electrical and mechanical engineer (BSE 1977, MSE 1979) for 25 years prior to becoming an oceanographer (MS 2006, PhD 2012).

  4. Make a model, throw it out there. Under the real conditions (both average and particularly in extreme). For a realistic length of time. I think that’s the best thing I’ve heard.

    I am constantly awed and astounded by how the sea completely confounds any expectations I’ve ever developed on land. Even for something as sampling or putting in a small sensor or enclosure in 10m of water. Then one can begin to talk feasibility.

  5. Hear, hear. I did not find that Boyan’s responses conveyed any understanding of the problems presented to him in the technical review. I was saddened when he didn’t understand Marcus’ pleuston community comment. I watched his original video again because I remember he mentioned how important it was to not harm the zooplankton community while cleaning up the ocean, but clearly that is not much of a concern anymore. He is very young with hardly any life experience, hasn’t graduated yet and hasn’t spent much time on the water. My recommendation for Boyan is to earn a degree in oceanography, gain more experience on the water and deploy a small scale model as his thesis to further the cause of ocean cleanup.

    • Amazing photo! I love Velella, even when they clog my plankton net and make me have to pick copepods out of their tentacles.

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