Thursday, October 24, 2013

Japan Tsunami debris field location

Our 'plan' to sail to Alaska in May/June 2014 has me wondering about the current location of the Japan Tsunami debris field.  Evaluating potential risk of a debris strike is important as we sure don't want to be blasting through the night if there is any risk of crashing into some of those items we've been seeing on the news, like floating docks and ghost fishing boats.

High windage Oyster float
High windage dock
Dangerous low windage boat

The International Pacific Research Center (IRPC) Tsunami debris model is based upon wind and ocean currents and should give a good indication of where all that Tsunami junk is going.  Items with lots of windage, like styrofoam blocks or Oyster floats scud quickly across the surface and have long since washed up on the beaches of North America.  Neutrally buoyant objects are those with 0% windage and driven solely by oceanic currents and may take many many years to reach North America if they don't sink first.

Animation showing 0% windage items

 The IPRC Tsunami debris models conveniently includes items ranging from 0% to 5% windage, so we can better understand the potential location of the slow moving junk.  In summary, it looks like we have a pretty clear track from the Marshall Islands to Alaska by May/June 2014.

 For more great info check out:

All photos courtesy of IRPC.

Animation showing 0% windage items