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Drift simulation of tsunami debris in the North Pacific

Kawamura, Hideyuki ; Kobayashi, Takuya ; Nishikawa, Shiro*; Ishikawa, Yoichi*; Usui, Norihisa*; Kamachi, Masafumi*; Aso, Noriko*; Tanaka, Yusuke*; Awaji, Toshiyuki*

A drift simulation of tsunami debris flushed out from the Tohoku district, Japan, into the North Pacific due to the tsunami on March 11, 2011, has been conducted to monitor and forecast the drift path over the North Pacific. Results showed that tsunami debris was first transported eastward by the intense Kuroshio Extension and westerly, spreading in the north and south directions by both an energetic ocean eddy and a storm track over the ocean. Tsunami debris with larger windage was transported over the North Pacific by ocean surface wind rather than ocean current and arrived at the west coast of the North American Continent in the fall of 2011. Tsunami debris located near the North American Continent migrated, associated with the basin-scale seasonal change in the atmospheric pressure pattern. Our forecast run suggested that the tsunami debris belt will be formed from the North American Continent in the east to the Philippines in the west.

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