Fukushima Meltdown Has Not Polluted the Entire Pacific, No Need to Panic!

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Ocean circulation doesn't work this way.
Ocean circulation doesn’t work this way.

From NOAA:

This image was created by NOAA’s Center for Tsunami Research and graphically shows maximum wave heights (in centimeters or cm) of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011. It does NOT represent levels of radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. For more information please visit the original image and background information at http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311.
Download here (Credit: NOAA)

This map of wave heights is circulating all over the internet along with panic and a sprinkling of facts (I added the text over this map, hoping that this version will help combat the fear mongering). But the reality is, even if there were radiation of this magnitude crossing the ocean, the map wouldn’t look anything like that – the ocean circulation is way more complex with masses of water spinning, sinking, stalled, or streaming like a river. Sometimes the ocean mixes up, and sometimes it doesn’t, with layers sitting on top of each other. Fresh water from rivers can go way out to sea, and wedges of salt water can travel up river.
The map below is also often misinterpreted – it is a projection of how the debris from the tsunami is expected to travel, assuming it stays in the main ocean surface currents – notice how it travels clockwise from the red, then back towards Asia (violet). If massive amounts of radiation were released into the surface and it floated along like old furniture etc,(which it doesn’t) this is the path it would be expected to take, not the plume pictured in the top map. ┬áBut radioactive particles behave differently depending on what they are. And for the most part the debris is not expected to be contaminated.

map_slideshow-450x256 debris

Does that mean we are all safe and can continue to live as though it is safe to eat anything in the ocean? Absolutely not, we have been dumping radiation into the environment for decades. Many species of fish travel this circle of ocean currents too, and will pick up increasing contamination with every swim by Japan. Little creatures that live in the ocean bottom near the reactor will stir up the sand and mud, and release some of the particles that are the worst, releasing those radioactive particles into the water and absorbing them at ever-increasing rates. Big fish eat little fish, and the problem escalates right up the food chain.
And for anyone who thinks it is a good idea to eat marine mammals of any kind, guess again – as top-level predators they will get the worst doses.
One more thing, it pays to check facts and listen to the authorities on this – in spite of political pressure, graft, influence peddling etc they are all we have to rely upon. If you are still worried, then make the decision not to eat sea food, or limit your intake.

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