Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Rings of the Gyre


September 24, 2007

When we look at the surface pressure of the atmosphere in our area of the eastern north Pacific, which we receive daily from http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/ptreyes.shtml, we see a series of gyrating concentric circles that define the subtropical high known as the north Pacific gyre. These circles define areas in which the atmospheric pressure is uniform. We are coming to view these areas as rings of trash with different characteristics. The direction of the winds that drive our sails follows the rings in a clockwise rotation. When we were in the center ring, it was very hard to sail. Not only were the winds light, but they changed direction frequently as they spiraled down from the peak of the mountain of air above us. We mostly had to motor to get to the second band. The plastic in our trawls was in general made up of smaller fragments, indicating that they had been trapped inside the ring for a long time, breaking apart. We are now in the second ring of high pressure and are suprised by how much larger the fragments are that we are pulling up, both by hand net from the bow, and in our trawls. We theorize that the debris being hauled into the gyre goes through a disintegration process as it spirals to the center, where it may revolve for decades. See sample from 9-22 vs sample from 9-24.

9-22

9-24
Since we have been moving to an area of high concentration of debris, predicted by Dave Foley and his group, we have seen debris more frequently. We even saw a large log today, about 4 meters long and 0.5 meter in diameter, covered in barnacles. The filmakers were out in the dingy, and couldn't go over a wave without pulling up a plastic oil can or bottle, piece of rope or large plastic fragment. Tomorrow will be a travel day, downwind to the west under spinnaker, in order to arrive at the sampling site for phytoplankton that are blooming where debris accumulations may exist.
Aloha from ORV Alguita



Septiembre 24 del 2007.

Cuando hemos revisado a la presion superficial de la atmosfera en nuestra area de muestreo en el Noreste del Pacifico, el cual recivimos de http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/ptreyes.shtml, se ve una serie de giros erraticos en circulos concentricos que definen lo que conocemos en el Giro del Pacifico Norte como alto subtropical. Estos circulos definen areas en la cual la presion atmosferica es uniforme. Estamos comenzando a ver estas areas como anillos de basura con diferentes caracteristicas. La direccion de los vientos que dirigen nuestro velero sigue estos anillos en una rotacion en direccion a las manecillas del reloj. Sin embargo, cuando estuvimos en el centro del anillo fue muy dificil velear. No solo porque los vientos son ligeros sino porque tambien cambian de direccion frecuentemente como una espiral hacia abajo del pico de la montana arriba de nosotros. Ahora estamos en el segundo anillo de alta presion y nos ha sorprendido las altas concentraciones de fragmentos grandes que estan siendo empujados hacia el centro, tanto a mano usando una red de cono, como en nuestros sistemas de arrastre con red. Estamos teorizando que la basura esta siendo jalada hacia dentro del giro y aqui se esta llevando el proceso de una desintegracion. manteniendo un movimiento de espiral hacia el centro del giro, donde se puede mezclar por decadas. Vean la muestra tomada en Sept. 22 contra la muestra tomada en Sept. 24. Dado que nos hemos movido a una area de alta concentracion de basura plastica, ya anteriormente predicha por Dave Foley y su grupo, estamos encontrando frecuentemente mas desechos plasticos en fragmentos. Incluso este medio dia pudimos ver un leno grande de unos 4 metros de largo y unos 0.5 metros de diametro, totalmente cubierto de barnaculos. Los filmadores salieron en nuestro dingy y no pudieron pasar las olas sin dejar de ver plastico flotando, ellos agarraron una lata de plastico de aceite o una botella, trozos de cuerdas o fragmentos grandes de plasticos. Manana viajaremos todo el dia, abajo de la vela de popa (spinnaker) para llegar a la zona de muestreo solicitada para fitoplacton que esta en acelerado crecimiento donde la acumulacion de basura plastica ya existe.

Aloha desde el ORV Alguita

NOTA: este mensaje fue escrito sin acentos.

1 comment:

Leonardo said...

I'm really not into all your findings...but on the surface I don't think it's an impossible task to handle. Again, I don't know all the facts. So far the thing I do know is all the garbage and trash seems to be in one real big location. I plan to read more, but at the moment it is over whelming. I hope you and your group are not just milking the money system to do researh and not lay out a plan to clean up the problem. By the way cleaning up the current problem may be easier than making sure it doesn't happen again. That...I don't think your group is even worring about. Thank You, Leonard Vinci