Where, how and why harmful algal blooms occur off coastal Washington and Oregon and predicting their arrival on coastal beaches is the goal of the NCCOS sponsored harmful algal bloom (HAB) project ‘PNWTOX’ (Pacific Northwest Toxins). A PNWTOX model developed for HABs is being put to use to help forecast the movement of the debris field from the devastating 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
University of Washington physical oceanographer Dr. Parker MacCready uses a state of the art circulation model to predict the direction and landfall of the debris field as it crosses the Pacific toward the West Coast of North America. Interestingly, the debris may not end up where one might expect. Hear Dr. MacCready talk about his prediction for the tsunami debris landfall at a recent NOAA and University of Washington news conference interview.