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Garbage patch visualization
This visualization assimilates ocean buoy datasets and the ECCO-2 ocean current model. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio (MP4, 214.6 MB).
Garbage patch visualization
This visualization assimilates ocean buoy datasets and the ECCO-2 ocean current model. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio (MP4, 214.6 MB).

Garbage Patch Visualization Experiment

[02-Oct-2015] You may have heard of "ocean garbage patches," areas in the ocean where litter and debris concentrate. This might stir up a vivid image of large blanketed areas of trash on the ocean surface that are easy to spot. But that's not the case. Much of the debris consists of smaller pieces of plastic that are always moving and changing with the ocean currents, waves and winds. These can be difficult to see and predict.
This visualization assimilates ocean bouy datasets and the ECCO-2 ocean model in an effort to track particle debris. While the simulated particles do not react to currents at the same times as the NOAA buoys - distributed throughout the oceans over the last 35 years - they do migrate to the same locations, thus validating model results.
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