Japan Tsunami Debris Sloshing Around The Pacific

Simulation of Debris from 2011 Japan Tsunami, 2011 University of Hwaii Mānoa International Pacific Research Center

After being pulled away from my online life for quite a while, I regret that my first post back is not happy news.  With apologies for sticking my neck into Miriam’s territory, but University of Hawaii researchers have recently modeled the projected path of debris that was washed out to sea following the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.  The data appears to indicate that  Hawaii’s reefs and coastlines will be impacted a second time:

The researchers predict that the debris will first spread out eastward from the Japan Coast in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. In a year, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument will see pieces washing up on its shores; in two years, the remaining Hawaiian islands will see some effects; in three years, the plume will reach the U.S. West Coast, dumping debris on Californian beaches and the beaches of British Columbia, Alaska, and Baja California. The debris will then drift into the famous North Pacific Garbage Patch, where it will wander around and break into smaller pieces. In five years, Hawaiʻi shores can expect to see another barrage of debris that is stronger and longer-lasting than the first one. Much of the debris leaving the North Pacific Garbage Patch ends up on Hawaiʻi’s reefs and beaches.

RickMac (67 Posts)

9 Replies to “Japan Tsunami Debris Sloshing Around The Pacific”

  1. So how does the amount of debris washed into the ocean compare to the amount of trash regularly dumped into the ocean by Pacific nations? Have we just added 0.000000001 more trash to the ocean, or is it more like 50%?

    And this has to be Al Gore’s fault somehow.

    1. Unfortunately there are no good measurements of trash inputs to the North Pacific, so it’s impossible to say.

  2. So the garbage takes a ride around before coming back to land. I just hope there will be people willing to pick up the garbage they see along the beach. Shall we hire a clean up crew now and then? I hear volunteers!!

  3. What people are missing is that this debris flotsam is carrying the downwind collection of irradiation from Fukushima… Picking up this debris can/will contaminate you… Cesium 131 has a half life of 500 years… sure the Iodine has an 8 day half life and that’s what the media has picked up and carried…. but the Cesium was sprinkled all over this flotsam in the downwind pattern… Reports indicate that the deadzone area around fukushima was expanded because when the hydrogen explosion occured bits of uranium pellets/fuel were found up to a mile and a half away! So an immeasurable amount was vaporized and fell as a heavy ash… 10,000 gallons of water enriched with Uranium and Plutonium throuth the emergency cooling process has been and IS being dumped into the ocean daily… we are at 120+ days… look at the model, this is more serious than anyone can imagine and quietly DEADLY… there will be no picking up the pieces of the North Pacific fisheries who’s very eggs of birth will be sterilized by this contamination…

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