JAPANESE TSUNAMI DEBRIS HEADED FOR WASHINGTON COAST

A Seattle oceanographer says the first items of flotsam from Japan’s tsunamis and earthquake may hit West Coast beaches in a year.  Curt Ebbesmeyer has traced items spilled from shipping containers over the decades is now tracking the massive debris from Japan.  He says derelict fishing vessels may show up in a year, while other items like pieces from wooden homes and rubber survey stakes may take two to three years.  He and retired NOAA oceanographer Jim Ingraham are using a computer model that studies the effects of wind, wave and currents of the Pacific Ocean to estimate the path of flotsam. He says that the large amount of tsunami debris pales in comparison to the litter that is dumped into oceans on a regular basis.

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