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New Marine Pollution Bulletin Article Assesses the Arrival of Japan Tsunami Marine Debris to North America

Jan. 19, 2018 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program's Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) contributed critical data to an analysis of the timing of Japan Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD) shoreline deposition. 

A small, overturned boat on a beach, covered with barnacles.
A small vessel is found at Cape Disappointment in Washington. It was confirmed as originating from the Great Japan Tsunami. Image credit: NOAA.

In the publication, “The influx of marine debris from the Great Japan Tsunami of 2011 to North American shorelines”, the authors document spikes of debris at MDMAP monitoring sites on the West Coast in June 2012, March 2013, and May 2014, which align with public reporting and debris modeling results. Sites on the outer coast of Washington saw a 10 time increase in debris loads over baseline. MDMAP relies on the efforts of citizen scientists, and is grateful to the many Pacific coast volunteers who mobilized to document debris from the tragic 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


For more information, please contact Sherry.Lippiatt@noaa.gov.


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