IPRC Tsunami Debris Models

IPRC Model Tracks Different Types of Tsunami Debris

Honolulu, August 3, 2012

The IPRC model that tracks the tsunami debris across the Pacific now reflects the effects of wind on the movement of debris with varying fractions of surface above water. Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner have added five additional windage levels to the original model, which is based on data from scientific drifting buoys with drogues at 15 meters deep. Items with high windage (levels 04 and 05) could have arrived on the West Coast by the end of 2011. Read more.

To view the animations of individual and combined windages see table below.

Windage Percentage
Latest Map
Movie as gif
Movie as avi

The Original Zero-Windage Model

The zero-windage debris field from daily winds and sea level height

The orginal model was developed from paths of drifters with 15-m deep drogues and mostly driven by currents. Debris with a large fraction above the water is driven by both wind and currents and is far in advance of the debris cloud shown on this map. The purple does NOT reflect density, but only the REGION in which debris is likely to be present. The items are now widely dispersed. Very little is known about how much remains afloat. To view latest map. To see animation as gif ; as avi.

The 15-year projections of the zero-windage debris field from the statistical model.

IPRC Debris Models NOT for Radioactivity

Honolulu, August 27, 2013
The models on our webpage cannot be used to simulate evolution of radionuclides or
any other dissolved matter. The principal difference is that debris floats on the sea surface and cannot sink, while radionuclides move with water parcels three-dimensionally. As a result, concentration of debris on the ocean surface can increase with time in areas of convergence, whereas there is no hydrodynamical mechanism that could increase concentration of radionuclides, it can only decay with time. Further information will be forthcoming.

back to top