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Marine Debris Gets National (and Celebrity!) Attention - 06.20.2014

If you attended or registered for our 2-part webinar series back in the spring, or if you've checked out the archive pages since then, you may remember hearing about the modeling work currently being done by the International Pacific Research Center in Hawaii. Drs. Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner, both from the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC), walked us through some of the data models they developed to both track the locations of marine debris generated after the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and to predict where that debris might eventually land, based on wind and ocean current data.

Well, some of that great work was recently shown at the 2014 Our Oceans conference, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, DC. During a NASA Hyperwall exhibit at the meeting, John Kerry and actor/philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio stopped by to hear more from Dr. Eric Lindstrom (NASA Program Scientist) about current research being done to better understand the ocean through satellite observing and modeling. Data simulations depicting ocean currents, circulation, and marine debris were all shown, which sparked great questions from both John and Leonardo! The Hyperwall visualization system, part of NASA's Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PODAAC), adds increased resolution to large, high-dimensional datasets, allowing scientists to better observe changes and helps them to use different tools and parameters to display these data. To see the IPRC data visualized, and to view other data animations from NASA's Hyperwall, click here.

IPRC Data at the NASA Hyperwall
Dr. Eric Lindstrom explains International Pacific Research Center model outputs to Secretary of State John Kerry and actor/philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio.

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