JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

On North Pacific circulation and associated marine debris concentration

Evan A Howell, Steven J Bograd, Carey Morishige, Michael P Seki, Jeffrey J Polovina
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2012, 65 (1): 16-22
21592531
Marine debris in the oceanic realm is an ecological concern, and many forms of marine debris negatively affect marine life. Previous observations and modeling results suggest that marine debris occurs in greater concentrations within specific regions in the North Pacific Ocean, such as the Subtropical Convergence Zone and eastern and western "Garbage Patches". Here we review the major circulation patterns and oceanographic convergence zones in the North Pacific, and discuss logical mechanisms for regional marine debris concentration, transport, and retention. We also present examples of meso- and large-scale spatial variability in the North Pacific, and discuss their relationship to marine debris concentration. These include mesoscale features such as eddy fields in the Subtropical Frontal Zone and the Kuroshio Extension Recirculation Gyre, and interannual to decadal climate events such as El Niño and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation/North Pacific Gyre Oscillation.

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