By Candace Calloway Whiting
28 August 2013
(Seattle PI) – From NOAA:
This image was created by NOAA’s Center for Tsunami Research and graphically shows maximum wave heights (in centimeters or cm) of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011. It does NOT represent levels of radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. For more information please visit the original image and background information at http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311.
This map of wave heights is circulating all over the internet along with panic and a sprinkling of facts (I added the text over this map, hoping that this version will help combat the fear mongering). But the reality is, even if there were radiation of this magnitude crossing the ocean, the map wouldn’t look anything like that – the ocean circulation is way more complex with masses of water spinning, sinking, stalled, or streaming like a river. Sometimes the ocean mixes up, and sometimes it doesn’t, with layers sitting on top of each other. Fresh water from rivers can go way out to sea, and wedges of salt water can travel up river. […]
Does that mean we are all safe and can continue to live as though it is safe to eat anything in the ocean? Absolutely not, we have been dumping radiation into the environment for decades. Many species of fish travel this circle of ocean currents too, and will pick up increasing contamination with every swim by Japan. Little creatures that live in the ocean bottom near the reactor will stir up the sand and mud, and release some of the particles that are the worst, releasing those radioactive particles into the water and absorbing them at ever-increasing rates. Big fish eat little fish, and the problem escalates right up the food chain.
And for anyone who thinks it is a good idea to eat marine mammals of any kind, guess again – as top-level predators they will get the worst doses. [more]