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Movement and accumulation of floating marine debris simulated by surface currents derived from satellite data

Masahisa Kubota(1) and Shin'ichiro Kako(1)

(1) Tokai University, 3-201-, Orido, Shizuoka, 424-8610, Shizuoka, Japan


Research results about movement and accumulation of floating marine debris drifting throughout the world's oceans were reviewed in this paper. A mechanism for the accumulation and the movement is strongly associated with surface currents consisting of Ekman drift and geostrophic current because all of floating marine debris is passive for surface currents. Geostrophic currents are derived from TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data, while Ekman drifts are derived from ERS/AMI data. We recoginize the basic mechanism Kubota (1994) has shown for the North Pacific is common in the world ocean. After marine debris accumulates in the narrow Ekman convergence zone, these move to the east by geostrophic currents. Most important thing is that floating marine debris concentrates on some specific regions independent of the initial number of marine debris. It is demonstrated in this study that microwave altimeter data are quite useful for marine environmental problems.


Workshop poster


                 Last modified: 07.10.03