Ocean Motion : Introduction For centuries, mariners have relied on ocean surface currents. Explorers rode them to discover new lands. Merchants counted on them to speed the transport of goods to market. Today understanding ocean surface currents is as important as ever. People study currents to select the most fuel efficient path for ships, win sailboat races, track pollution such as oil spills, assist in search and rescue operations and determine the best location for catching fish. Chris Jordan - Midway On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean. For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror.
What is Nonpoint Source Pollution? Motor oil is one source of nonpoint source pollution. (Photo courtesy of NOAA) What is nonpoint source pollution? Great Pacific Garbage Patch The area of increased plastic particles is located within the North Pacific Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres. The Great Pacific garbage patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N and 42°N. The patch extends over an indeterminate area, with estimates ranging very widely depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography, nor even necessarily to a casual boater or diver in the area, since it consists primarily of a small increase in suspended, often-microscopic particles in the upper water column. Discovery
Plastic pollution Plastic waste at Coco Beach in India. Types Plastic pollution on plants. Indian Ocean Garbage Patch There are trash vortices in each of the five major oceanic gyres. The Indian Ocean Garbage Patch on a continuous ocean map centered near the south pole The Indian Ocean garbage patch, discovered in 2010, is a gyre of marine litter suspended in the upper water column of the central Indian Ocean, specifically the Indian Ocean Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres. The patch does not appear as a continuous debris field. As with other patches in each of the five oceanic gyres, the plastics in it break down to ever smaller particles, and to constituent polymers. As with the other patches, the field constitutes an elevated level of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris; primarily particles that are invisible to the naked eye.
PLASTIC & POLLUTION - PangeaSeed Plastic is as common to see at the beach as seashells are, but plastic litter is more than just an aesthetic disturbance; it’s a sign that humans are treating the oceans like a garbage bin.Today, the oceans and marine life are facing the threat of permanent alteration from a number of sources of pollution, and plastic is among the most significant. Plastic accounts for 60-80% of marine garbage, and in high-density areas, reaches up to 95% (Weisman, 2007). In the middle of the North Pacific, plastic outweighs algae, six to one (Leahy, 2004). The average American will throw away 185 pounds of plastic each year. And plastic never truly disappears. North Atlantic Garbage Patch The North Atlantic garbage patch is an area of man-made marine debris found floating within the North Atlantic Gyre, originally documented in 1972. The patch is estimated to be hundreds of kilometers across in size, with a density of over 200,000 pieces of debris per square kilometer. The debris zone shifts by as much as 1,600 km (990 mi) north and south seasonally, and drifts even farther south during the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, according to the NOAA. Research To study the scale of the marine debris accumulation in the area, the Sea Education Association (SEA) has been doing extensive research on the Atlantic Garbage Patch. Nearly 7,000 students from the SEA semester program have been dragging 6,100 fine-mesh nets through the Atlantic over 22 years.
Why Are All These Legos Washing Up on the Beach? A rogue wave and a lot of plastic octopi shed light on the workings of ocean currents. Lego.com If you happen to find yourself strolling on the beach in Cornwall, you might find some man-made detritus along with the expected array of shells and seaweed and sand. You might find some diving flippers. Or a life preserver. Or a spear gun. Ocean Plastic Ocean Plastic Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Marine debris is manmade waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways. Most trash reaches the seas via rivers, and 80% originates from landfills and other urban sources.
Nature Laughs Last At Glass Beach [38 PICS] Close-up view of the colored glass beads mixed in the sand at Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, CA. The photographer noted, “Glass Beach is not an official park or attraction – there are no signs pointing the way to the shoreline.” He added, “In addition to the polished glass, Glass Beach provides an excellent point of access to the rocky northern California shoreline, with the furious waves crashing against the craggy outcrops.” Ocean Pollution Collection Resources Multimedia Lessons and Activities Real World Data Background Information