Honolulu, February 25, 2013
"The currents in the Northwest Pacific collect debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Winds and storms push the debris out of the patch again, and then the trade winds bring it to Hawaii. Recently the trades have been very strong. This is why we have seen more than the usual amount of debris washing up on Hawaii shores, much of it seems to be from the 2011 Japan tsunami," says IPRC Senior Scientist Nikolai Maximenko. Read more in Star-Advertiser.
Honolulu, February 20, 2013
During today's seminar/webinar, Tomoya Kataoka from the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management, Ibaraki, Japan, spoke about web-camera monitoring of quantity and movement of beached marine debris. To view Kataoka's PowerPoint file click here. To view and download the webinar recording, click here. For video-recording of the meeting, click here.
Honolulu, January 11, 2013
Representatives of Japanese government and non-government agencies came to Hawaii to inspect the presence of marine debris from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami on Hawaiian beaches. Led by the Japan Environmental Action Network (JEAN), the group wants to work with Hawaii groups on tsunami debris issues. In partnership with the IPRC and other local organizations, JEAN held a day-long meeting. The Japanese agencies shared their tsunami debris cleanup and monitoring efforts; IPRC’s Nikolai Maximenko spoke about the timelines and pathways of different debris types based on the IPRC Model; International Coastal Cleanup and government groups in Hawaii gave overviews of their activities. More in Meeting Agenda; KITV4 report.
Honolulu, December 4, 2012
Twenty months after the Japan tsunami, little is known about the debris still floating in the North Pacific from the disaster. Fragmentary reports have come and are continuing to come from research vessels, small boats, and from sightings on coastlines, where debris washes ashore without warning. In this situation, numerical models, carefully tuned to use the little data available, continue to provide the main framework for tsunami debris planning and mitigation. Read more.
Honolulu, October 5, 2012
The IPRC Marine Debris Project was notified of possible tsunami debris from Japan washing up on the lava shore below Na`alehu. The giant container like object is metal, yellow, about 12 feet tall and 20 feet wide and could possibly be a pontoon for a floating dock. It was discovered Oct. 3 on state property, within the wash of the waves. Hikers came across the possible tsunami debris along the shore makai of Na`alehu, on the uninhabited Ka`u Coast. Read more.
Honolulu, October 1, 2012
The 5 Gyres Institute and the Algalita Marine Research Institute conducted a sailing expedition that left Japan on June 10, 2012, and sailed through the area where, 15 months after the catastrophe, the IPRC model predicted flotsam from the Japanese tsunami would be concentrated. The debris that was found, for instance parts of a crushed fishing boat and piece of a traditional tatami mat, fits the model's low-windage profile, indicating that much of the debris hasn’t made it across the ocean yet. Read more.
Honolulu, Sept. 30, 2012
HawaiiNewsNow reports that beach goers found an Asahi Beer crate on Bellows Beach. The crate is believed to be from the March 11, 2011, tsunami. The latest version of the IPRC Climate model was shown during the news cast, indicating that debris from the tsunami could be arriving on Hawaii east-facing shores any time now. Read more.
Honolulu, September 21, 2012
When a blue box with the name of a Japanese company destroyed during the March 2011 tsunami was found near Sea Life Park on Oahu, Lisa Kubota of HawaiiNewsNow interviewed Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner. The scientists stated the box could be from the tsunami, as their higher windage version of the IPRC tsunami debris model shows the front eddge of the tsunami debris arriving in Hawaii. Read more. Shortly afterwards, fishermen spotted a Japanese dock floating along the east-facing shore of Molokai. Read more.
Honolulu, March 9, 2012
On the first anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, IPRC’s Senior Scientist Nikolai Maximenko speaks about the current status of the tsunami debris that the earthquake generated. To view high-resolution mp4 video. To view Powerpoint slides. The IPRC gives a "Special Thank You" to Eric Grabowski, Videographer and Editor, and to the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education for creating this production. Permission is granted for non-commercial use with credit to the IPRC.
Honolulu, February 28, 2012
On the upcoming anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Ocean Conservancy hosted a webinar with IPRC’s Nikolai Maximenko and Ruth Yender, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Coordinator. They shared the latest findings on the tsunami debris. Following the webinar, Maximenko and Jan Hafner held a press conference in which Maximenko updated the press on the findings presented in the webinar. More in KHNO2, KITV, HawaiiNewsNow, Star-Advertiser. Listen to webinar.
Honolulu, February 22, 2012
At this week’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner gave an update of their modeling results on the tsunami debris field. The work and the animation of their model showing how the Japanese tsunami debris field has spread since March 2011 is featured on BBC News. Read more.
The tsunami triggered by the March 11 Earthquake washed out houses, containers, etc. from the land, and ripped offshore items such as fishery vessels, oyster beds, and other fishing gears, etc. loose. Some of these items have sunken, others are still drifting.To read about the actions taken by the Government of Japan go to their Kantei Website.
Honolulu, February 21, 2012
Japanese scientists and governmental representatives met with IPRC’s Tsunami Project Team on February 9 to exchange the latest information about efforts in locating the now widely dispersed tsunami debris. The mission of the task force is to identify the locations of the drifting matter washed into the ocean during the March 11 tsunami by using cutting-edge data assimilation techniques together with the best available ocean, atmosphere, and climate models, and to confirm these locations with satellite imagery and with observational reports. The task force, working under the umbrella of Japanese governmental organizations, is looking into cooperating with other governments on this project, in particular, with the United States. Read more.
Honolulu, February 16, 2012
With the lack of satisfactory observations, some reports in the media have greatly exaggerated the amount and type of debris from the March 11, 2011, tsunami floating toward the North American West Coast. We will try to clear up a few misunderstandings and misperceptions. Read more.
Honolulu, February 13, 2012
A Japan-U.S. joint project is under way across the Pacific to monitor the paths of debris swept into the sea in the aftermath of the huge tsunami that followed on the heels of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake. In September last year, Prof. Shigeru Fujieda of Kagoshima University's Faculty of Fisheries asked domestic fisheries high schools to cooperate in gathering data on tsunami debris after receiving a request from Nikolai Maximenko, a senior researcher of the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii. Read more in the Daily Yomiuri.
Honolulu, January 25, 2012
The March 11, 2011, earthquake northeast of Japan and the impact of subsequent tsunami wave on the Tohoku coastline produced millions of tons of debris. A large amount of the debris was released into the ocean. Under the influence of winds and currents, floating debris is dispersing over a large area and drifting eastward; it is predicted to reach Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States within the coming two years. In order to obtain some certainty about the model predictions, an expedition was made to survey the ocean northwest of Midway during December. Read more about the survey.
January 18, 2012
Nikolai Maximenko was interviewed by KITV 4 regarding findings by residents on Molokai, who thought they had spotted tsunami debris. Maximenko took this opportunity to review the various sightings of actual debris from the tsunami and to describe the recent expedition in search of such debris northwest of Midway. Listen and read more.
December 15, 2011
Carried by ocean currents and winds, tsunami debris is expected to drift across the North Pacific from Japan toward the Northwest Coast of North America. The speed with which it drifts depends on its shape and composition. If the item is light and sticks out of water, it will drift much faster across the Pacific. The drum that washed on the shores of the Olympic Peninsula is such a light object; the part that sticks out of the water acts like a sail, and the wind can push it much more quickly than heavier objects. Researchers on the West Coast are now in the same position that our team has been for a while: verifying that the debris that has been found is indeed tsunami debris. Read more by Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner. Read story in news.
Workshop on November 14, 2011
The March 11, 2011, tsunami in Japan swept tons of debris into the ocean. Visible during the first weeks as yellow mats of complex composition, the debris quickly drifted offshore, dispersed and became invisible to existing observing systems. Predictions of ocean models have been confirmed by recent direct observations, which showed the edge of the debris field at the end of September only 300 miles northwest from Midway. The workshop focused on the necessity and feasibility of mitigating the impact of the debris on coastlines by using available knowledge, technologies, and resources. For the program and to see the presentations (mostly PDFs) click here; For the Audio-Video Webex recording click here. Picked up in the news by The Mainichi Daily News.
November 3, 2011
Nikolai Maximenko was interviewed by Dan Cooke, the weather and news anchor for Hawaii News Now, about his computer-model-based prediction of where the debris from the tsunami is headed. As this debris may greatly impact Hawaii,Cooke has begun a series called "Tsunami Trash Adrift to Hawaii," which will “continue to monitor the tsunami trash as it approaches our islands, and let you know about plans to tackle the problem as they develop.” Listen to the news cast.
(IPRC press release)
October 14, 2011
On September 22 during its homeward voyage from Honolulu to Vladivostok, the Russian Sail Training Ship Pallada encountered debris from the great Japan tsunami, including a small boat with the Fukujima prefecture marking. It was found at the outer edge of the debris field of the computer model of ocean currents developed by IPRC’s Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner. As the Pallada continued on, more debris was seen, validating the model. Read press release.