NOAA scientists survey tsunami debris on Southeast beaches

Associated PressJune 18, 2012 

JUNEAU -- Government scientists are in the midst of a 10-day trip, surveying Southeast Alaska beaches for debris from last year's deadly tsunami in Japan.

While there have been several high-profile instances of debris from the tsunami reaching U.S. shores, groups that routinely clean ocean trash from Alaska beaches have reported a difference in the volume and type of debris they're seeing this year, leading them to believe more debris from the disaster has arrived.

A five-member team for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is due back in Juneau Sunday. Surveys of coastline farther north and west are planned for later this summer.

NOAA's Jeep Rice characterizes the current trip as a preliminary assessment to get a sense of what's arriving. Rice says the trip will help inform future cleanup efforts.

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