Eric found this Greenpeace animation, which tries to demonstrate trash accumulation in the North Pacific Gyre. It’s really pretty – too bad the oceanography is entirely wrong. Why is the California Current sweeping through the Central Valley? (Does this mean LA has finally been swept out to sea?) The Alaska Current is not actually over the land of Alaska. And there’s an entirely novel gyre over by Japan – the Kuroshio Current has run away to Kamchatka. Compare:
Still of very very wrong Greenpeace animation:
Actual correct currents (courtesy Ocean Motion):
Oh, Greenpeace – I kind of love your costumes and your earnestness and your enthusiasm. I’m glad you’re out there lobbying and protesting. But Greenpeace, when you’re writing about the North Pacific Gyre you can’t just put the ocean currents every which way. Having the Kuroshio (the Gulf Stream of the Pacific) going the wrong way is particularly harmful to your goal, since it is the Kuroshio that brings plastics from Asia into the gyre. And when your incorrect figure is the second google hit for “North Pacific Gyre Map” – well, that’s way more embarrassing than being the guy in the whale suit.