Researchers: Alaska could get half or more of tsunami debris

But study concludes much is still unknown about the trash.

Associated PressSeptember 20, 2012 

JUNEAU -- A literature study by researchers suggests Alaska could see the greatest mass of debris from last year's tsunami in Japan.

Washington Sea Grant researchers reviewed published oceanographic literature on the patterns and processes that move debris in the North Pacific. Using that, they assumed at least half the debris associated with the tsunami, expected to make landfall, will do so in Alaska.

Co-author Ian Miller acknowledges there's a lot of uncertainty, including not knowing how much debris is still floating 1 1/2 years after the disaster.

The report was geared toward Washington state, with a goal of helping decision-makers there plan for any debris that might reach their shores.

It suggests that most of the debris that makes landfall in Washington will do so in three to four years.

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