Plastic Garbage Mass in North Pacific Gyre
Graphic art – GOOD
The Great Pacific Garbage Dump is Discovered
In 1997, American Charles Moore was sailing his yacht back to California after participating in the Los Angeles to Hawaii yacht race. He chose a short cut usually avoided by sailors and entered the North Pacific Gyre….
In a gyre, very little wind and extremely high pressure weather systems combine to greatly reduce ocean circulation. The largest marine ocean ecosystems are subtropical gyres which cover 40% of the earth’s surface. These immense regions of slowly spiraling warm equatorial air pull in winds and converging sea currents. Everything in a gyre moves slowly. Yachtsmen avoid them because there is too little wind for effective sailing. Gyres are the ‘doldrums’ of maritime history and legends. They contain regions of ‘dead calm’ where no wind blows for several days. Surface chlorophyll density is low, plant and animal growth and biomass is low as well.
Expecting little excitement and a slow uneventful cruise towards California, Moore was soon to have a shocking, unexpected experience.