Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Could See Tsunami Debris In Early 2012

 UPDATED 12:16 AM HST Dec 22, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO -

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration say updated computer models show that debris from the Japan tsunami earlier this year could impact the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as early as January or February 2012.

The Northwest Hawaiian Islands is a series of small islands and atolls northwest of Kauai and Niihau.

Recent efforts have focused on monitoring, assessment and response strategies in the vicinity of Kure and Midway Atoll.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is continuing systematic shoreline monitoring and removal of debris on Sand and Eastern Islands on Midway Atoll every 28 days.

NOAA is looking into obtaining high-resolution satellite imagery of possible tsunami debris in the open ocean.

The State of Hawaii is assisting with marine debris deposition data collection at Kure Atoll.

The EPA is looking into options for possible aerial reconnaissance missions to look for debris in the vicinity of Midway Atoll.

NOAA is looking into overflight assistance from agency partners to collect data and information on the tsunami debris in the North Pacific.

NOAA is also working to convene various oceanographic modeling experts to ensure that the best possible information on debris movement and predicted location is used to inform satellite imagery acquisition and overflight assistance.

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