Tuesday, 3 July 2007

UK on alert for plastic duck invasion - earth - 02 July 2007 - New Scientist Environment

UK on alert for plastic duck invasion - earth - 02 July 2007 - New Scientist Environment:

"Look out Britain! Here come the plastic ducks... What's left of 28,800 plastic bath toys that were lost at sea 15 years ago are headed for the western shores of the UK, according to a retired oceanographer who has been tracking them since the beginning of their epic voyage.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer had been looking for a way to test a computer model of ocean circulation – OSCURS – developed by his colleague, Jim Ingraham at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

He knew he had come across a rare opportunity to do just that when he heard that the plastic toys – ducks, frogs, beavers and turtles – had fallen off a cargo container in the north-western Pacific on 10 January 1992.

Since then, thousands of the durable, waterproof toys – many bleached and battered by their maritime travels – have been picked up on beaches around the Pacific. Using OSCURS, Ebbesmeyer has predicted their itinerary and each new sighting serves to confirm the model."

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