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Satellite imagery of the great Pacific garbage patch?


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#1 chemkid

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 02:03 AM

I have checked several imagery providers none of which seem to to provide imagery of the ocean where on may find a picture of this colossal floating garbage patch. I would quite like to be able to examine this phenomena. If any one has been able to find it, or may know a provider which has such imagery please inform me.

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#2 iNow

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 02:39 AM

Have you tried searching "Eastern Garbage Patch" and/or "North Pacific Gyre?"

Also, if you know the coordinates, you could check it out on Google Earth.
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#3 chemkid

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:29 PM

I have tried google earth. They don't have actual pictures of the ocean. I have searched the internet as well.
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#4 ttowntom

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 03:21 AM

I have checked several imagery providers none of which seem to to provide imagery of the ocean where on may find a picture of this colossal floating garbage patch. I would quite like to be able to examine this phenomena.

It's an urban myth, with a (very small) kernel of truth.

There are two areas of the Pacific which tend to trap trash, due to the circulating currents (known as 'gyres', in particular). One is much larger than the size of Texas, in fact. However, thinking its a solid heap of trash and plastic waste is nonsense...it is in fact, to the normal eye, an average patch of ocean, with only a moderately higher chance of finding a piece of trash in it than anywhere else in the sea.

That's why you'll never find pictures of any gigantic mound -- it doesn't exist.
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#5 iNow

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 04:07 AM

How big is "gigantic?" Is that on the metric system or IU?

Precisely how do you define "moderately higher," and what scale do you use?


Language is a funny thing when it remains undefined. :-)
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#6 JohnB

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 02:58 AM

How big is "gigantic?"

Larger than "Huge" but smaller than "Tremendous"?:D
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#7 iNow

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 03:14 AM

Of course... So, it's metric then. Thanks! ;)
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#8 CaptainPanic

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 08:22 AM

Soon trash is money. It contains loads of carbon, which can be burned. If it's just floating around, it is just waiting to be harvested. Stuff that's floating in water is actually really easy to pick up... So I see this oceanic garbage belt as a minor problem. One problem that might actually be solved by our capitalist system. We should be glad that there are a few of these accumulation points in the ocean. (If there were none, we'd have trash all over the place).

And damn Google for putting detailed pictures of streets on internet (looking into people's houses) but not a single picture of the ocean.

p.s. "Discovery Channel units", are those considered metric? Volume expressed in football stadiums, weight in elephants and distance in Earth-Moon trips? :D
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#9 jryan

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 02:12 PM

I wonder how much of the garbage we see in these catch areas is due to unintentional polution causes such as the 2004 Tsunami, etc.

I have a brother who was in the navy, and later worked as an engineer of an Atlantic discovery vessel, and he said that the worst oceanic polution he ever saw was off the coast of Brazil. The incoming and outgoing tides have an almost tectonics subduction zone a few miles off the coast of Brazil that traps debris in a sort of trash halo. He said there were some areas thick enough to walk on.

But then he also said that in those areas seemed, when undersea flood lights were turned on at night, to be the most active biologically. With many fish and humbolt squid treating the trash like a floating reef.

It is one of those strange paradoxes when looking at man as part of the environment as opposed to an unimposing shepard.... in this case, cleaning up our trash would destroy an ecosystem.
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#10 Avena

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 02:32 AM

Well...

Now we can get the actual and clear picture from Google earth or Google Map for the Oceans...
No doubt the Google earth had the problem to view the picture not in clear form. But i have tried now many times, its going well. Also we can get the image or picture from internet , but it may not clear as it should...
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#11 the asinine cretin

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:08 PM

The great pacific gyre is estimated to contain 100 million tons of plastic but it is overwhelmingly particulates and isn't visible from satellites.

You might be interested in the following research.

Moore, C.J., & et al. (2001). A Comparison of Plastic and Plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 42(12), 1297-1300.

Full Article (PDF)


ETA: While this problem is often presented in an incorrect way and then written off as alarmist or mythical, it is a very serious problem with respect to marine life. More later if you're interested.

Edited by Ceti Alpha V, 28 September 2011 - 03:09 PM.

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#12 insane_alien

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 05:24 PM

the garbage path isn't really visible even if you are in the middle of it.

it is mostly small particles of plastic and other waste materials that are found there in high concnentrations.

there are no photos because it would be no different to your average looking patch of ocean.
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