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Crowd-funding Success for Radioactive Ocean Website – News – Hydro International

Just two weeks after launching the crowd-sourcing campaign and citizen science website, ‘How Radioactive Is Our Ocean,’ WHOI marine chemist Ken Buesseler’s project has received more than 70 individual donations from the concerned public. New data on seawater radiation levels will be posted on the website today.

The project aims to inform and include the public in the process of gathering information about radiation levels in the ocean. The website has garnered more than 18,000 visits to date.

Although Buesseler does not expect levels to be dangerously high in the ocean or in seafood as the plume spreads 5,000 miles across the Pacific, he believes this is an evolving situation that demands careful, consistent monitoring to make sure predictions are true.

More http://www.hydro-international.com/news/id6677-Radioactive_Ocean_Website_Crowd_Fundraising_Success.html

Crowd-funding Success for Radioactive Ocean Website

Just two weeks after launching the crowd-sourcing campaign and citizen science website, ‘How Radioactive Is Our Ocean,’ WHOI marine chemist Ken Buesseler’s project has received more than 70 individual donations from the concerned public. New data on seawater radiation levels will be posted on the website today.

The project aims to inform and include the public in the process of gathering information about radiation levels in the ocean. The website has garnered more than 18,000 visits to date.

Although Buesseler does not expect levels to be dangerously high in the ocean or in seafood as the plume spreads 5,000 miles across the Pacific, he believes this is an evolving situation that demands careful, consistent monitoring to make sure predictions are true.

One community activist in Point Reyes, CA, has already raised enough funds to sample the seawater in his coastal community at four intervals throughout this year.

In addition to the Point Reyes site, thus far, funding has been secured for bi-monthly sampling at the Scripps Pier in La Jolla, CA, and goals have been met for at least single samples at Ocean Shores, WA, Santa Monica, CA, and Mendocino, CA.

Dr. Roger Gilbert, a radiation oncologist in Mendocino, CA, raised funds to support analysis of his coastal community’s seawater. He was concerned over fear-mongering on the Internet about allegedly high levels of Fukushima radiation in the coastal waters of California. As radiation oncologist, he is more familiar than most with radioactivity, and it seemed highly likely that the vast dilution of radioisotopes from Fukushima by the Pacific Ocean would result in a barely (if at all) measurable rise in counts.

The plume of radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is forecasted to be detectable at the Pacific coast in April 2014, according to a scientific model developed by Vincent Rossi, a post-doctoral research associate at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain.

Rossi’s model projects that traces of Fukushima’s radiation will reach Alaska and coastal Canada first because of the trajectory of the powerful Kuroshio Current that flows from Japan across the Pacific. The plume will continue to circulate down the coast of North America and back towards Hawaii.

Fukushima contamination can be fingerprinted from precise measurements of the relative amounts of two cesium isotopes: The long lived cesium-137 isotope with a 30-year half life that has been in the ocean from 1960s weapons testing, and cesium-134, with a 2-year half life that can only be a result of the more recent 2011 Fukushima accident. Today new data will be posted on the website from four funded sample sites: La Jolla, Calif., Point Reyes, Calif., Grayland, WA, and Sequim Bay, WA.

No traces of Fukushima’s cesium-134 have been detected in Buesseler’s analyses yet. And, the level of cesium-137 is what’s expected from the 1960s sources (1.5 Bequerels per cubic metre).

Having samples from before the plume reaches the coast is important for building a complete data set that measures changing radiation levels over time and improving scientists’ ability to model plume behavior. Over the rest of 2014, levels are expected to become detectable starting first along the northern coastline. The complex behaviour of coastal currents will likely result in varying intensities and changes that cannot be predicted from models alone.

The project currently has sponsors interested in collecting samples from 16 unique locations from San Diego to British Columbia and one in Oahu, Hawaii. However, none have been proposed yet from Alaska, where the plume is predicted to be detected first.

Aim is to be able to sample and analyse about 20 sites from Alaska to San Diego at regular intervals every few months. There is interest from the public in Japan, New Zealand, Guam, and one sailing vessel traveling from Hawaii to Japan this summer, but the West Coast time series is the highest priority.

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Supplier: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
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