By: Asma Mahdi, Outreach and Communications Specialist
Several docks ripped away from the Port of Misawa in Japan during the March 2011 tsunami. One washed up on Oregon’s coast last summer, and a second beached along Washington’s coastline in December. Two identical debris pieces that left Japan’s coast at the same time made the journey across the Pacific, but they ended up on the U.S. West Coast six months apart and in very different locations. How can we predict where marine debris will end up?
In National Ocean Service’s “Diving Deeper” podcast, “Marine Debris: Where is it going?”, Sherry Lippiatt, NOAA Marine Debris Program’s California Regional Coordinator, talks through the challenges in predicting marine debris movement in the ever-changing ocean environment. She explains that weathering, debris type, and other factors play a role in how debris moves. Taking these and other factors into account, NOAA scientists can model debris movement, but ultimately the path of a given piece of debris can vary drastically just with changing wind or wave action.
To listen in on the full story about marine debris movement, click here to tune into the podcast.
The podcast is also available on iTunes for download.