A crew onboard a Russian ship has spotted debris from Japan's tsunami floating 3,000 kilometres out into the Pacific.
It is believed to be the first confirmed sighting of tsunami debris so far out into the ocean.
Among the wreckage was a television set, a refrigerator and a small boat registered in Fukushima.
The crew of the Russian ship recovered the boat and is now trying to trace its Japanese owner.
Members of the US Navy's 7th fleet, near the coast of Japan, say they've never seen anything like it. Houses, cars, even tractor trailers bobbing in the ocean have become a threat to shipping traffic.
"It's very challenging to move through these to consider these boats run on propellers and that these fishing nets or other debris can be dangerous to the vessels that are actually trying to do the work," Ensign Vernon Dennis said. "So getting through some of these obstacles doesn't make much sense if you are going to actually cause more debris by having your own vessel become stuck in one of these waterways."
The Russian ship was sailing near Midway Atoll, 3,000 kilometers east of Japan, when crew sighted the collection of floating debris.
The International Pacific Research Centre in Hawaii says it understands that this is the first confirmed sighting of debris created by the Japan tsunami in March.
More than 200,000 buildings were washed out to sea by the tsunami and now a powerful current called the North Pacific Gyre is carrying everything towards the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California before looping back towards Hawaii and Asia.
"Across the wide Pacific the drift rate is about 5 to 10 miles per day, so it's not a terribly strong current, but it's deliberate," said oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer, who has tracked the path of ocean debris from around the world. "It never sleeps."
He says a year from now, things that easily float like boats, wood from houses and plastic children's toys will appear.
Ebbesmeyer posting monthly updates as to where the debris actually is on his website.
Two years out, fishing supplies and nets will come ashore and after three years, shoes, plastic furniture and even entire dining sets.
"[color=limegreen]So you have to imagine a city say the size of about Seattle, put it through a grinder and what happens?
You wind up with all kinds of debris - bodies, boats, everything from a person's life including the living themselves and half that's probably going to float," said Ebbesmeyer.
Originally posted by SFWatcher
reply to post by thorfourwinds
ok, dude, I'm in a questionable mood this afternoon, but I also live in SF, so I'll take the bate and give you my two cents.
Great post. At first, I thought it would be a little dull and very questionable. But . . .if that picture is "confirmed" that IS a lot of (insert term of choice here). I mean, that is a LOT of debris. Radioactive? My bet is not. Potentially a huge mass of debris hitting our shores? Could be. That is the 64,000 dollar question. The last thing we need is a major shipping harbor (port of Oakland is fed through the Golden Gate Bridge) hampered by a floating mine field.
Thanks for the heads up. We'll keep our eyes out.
Prevailing currents that lead from Japan to the BC Coast will almost certainly churn up Japanese tsunami fragments.
However, according to Bill Crawford, a research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, BC the question isn't if, but when.
“There are scientists at our lab who put radio trackers in the water and they indicate a time of about three years for arrival.”
There is a chance that debris could show up sooner. “Things that float high on the water could make it here within a year or so, because the wind will push it over the water quite a bit.”
According to Howard Freeland, another research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences, the debris would have to travel about 7,360 kilometres to reach Vancouver Island from Tokyo at an average rate of 10 kilometres per day.
Marine debris poses serious problems for ocean ecosystems, fisheries and shipping.
According to the International Pacific Research Centre (IPRC) in Hawaii, much of the trash finds its way into 'garbage patches' in the ocean.
The North Pacific Garbage Patch (southwest of Canada) has become famous and Crawford believes a lot of the Japanese tsunami debris will end up there.
In the broad expanse of the northern Pacific Ocean, there exists the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents.
The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. Due to its lack of large fish and gentle breezes, fishermen and sailors rarely travel through the gyre.
But the area is filled with something besides plankton: trash, millions of pounds of it, most of it plastic.
[color=limegreen]It's the largest landfill in the world, and it floats in the middle of the ocean.
The gyre has actually given birth to two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California; scientists estimate its size as two times bigger than Texas [source: LA Times]. The Western Garbage Patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii.
Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone.
Research flights showed that significant amounts of trash also accumulate in the Convergence Zone.
Experts like Crawford believe it's possible for sturdier items (boats) to wash up on BC beaches in tact, however, they would have endure major obstacles. “They'll have to survive the north Pacific winters and that's rough; things get beat up a lot. But a very seaworthy boat could come across, while waves could swamp a small boat quite easily.”
He makes it clear that we can't be certain how much debris will actually arrive from Japan, but he anticipates it won't be considerable.
“Only a small fraction will likely make it all the way here....people have been launching things for some time and we're quite surprised at how much is reported as found -- only a few percent.”
One thing is for sure. Crawford knows the variety of things washing up will be quite intriguing. “I'm sure there'll be some interesting surprises.”
Originally posted by this_is_who_we_are
Originally posted by thorfourwinds
reply to post by this_is_who_we_are
What do you think the best way would be to inform more people of the Fukushima Dai-ichi warheads/MOX/weapons productions facility that remains, to this day, continually spewing life-altering radiation 24/7/365... [color=limegreen]with no end in sight?
The first thing that popped into my mind when I read this was:
"I don't know... I wish I had an answer."
The second thing that popped into my mind was:
"Occupy Wall Street".
I envisioned the protesters with Fukushima signs. How would one steer the protesters towards rallying behind this cause along with their primary concerns. This would require someone to disseminate the information contained in your exhaustive and informative threads within the OWS movement. In my world, I see signs and banners proclaiming the ongoing (and under/un-reported) disaster flying high at every protest. But that's just me.
Sadly this site exists due to a nuclear cover up that has been ongoing since the nuclear crisis in Japan starting March 11th 2011.
(...)The way to beat the nuclear industry and their spin is to always stay united.
I know people will have some disagreements but ultimately [color=orane]if we want to save some lives its a team effort.
It might sound dramatic to talk about saving lives but make no mistake thats what all the people who make the Youtube videos, websites and selected journalists are trying to do.
[color=orane]One sick kid is one sick kid too many.
Liberty & Equality
Originally posted by ColAngus
So what can be done? I agree there's a lot to be concerned about, but I haven't seen any practical or logistically sound solutions for addressing this.
You can't put up the Dome from the Simpsons Movie, so what can you or I do?
I'm not being sarcastic or adverserial in any way whatsover, just genuinely curious as to what the OP thinks.
It is now time to come out of the (comparatively safe) woodwork and nether reaches of the world and unite, in this, arguably, the single biggest threat to all life on the planet we have ever faced.
It is now time to make this issue the much-needed (and missing) focal point of that pent-up anger of the OWS movement.
It is now time to voice our dissatisfaction with the inept and still-without-a-viable-solution response to the largest industrial accident in the history of mankind.
We, the people, must pick up the ball and run with it, or suffer watching our loved ones slowly wilting away from the degrading effects of radiation poisoning - much like the food in the fields and the trees in the forest - or die trying.
We look forward to the collective mind of these individuals to formulate a plan to address the many aspects of this plan, the sooner, the better.
We look forward to further communication with like-minded individuals as to the implementation of "the Plan."
Liberty & Equality