Tag Archives: NE Pacific

Hypothesis Confirmed: Sea Lion Mass Deaths Caused by Malnutrition

by Alastair Bland
August 2, 2017
Originally published by Hakai Magazine

Meteorologists had never seen anything quite like it—a mass of abnormally warm surface water that overwhelmed much of the northeastern Pacific Ocean for three years starting in late 2013. They called it the Blob.

Within months, thousands of starving sea lion pups began washing ashore along the west coast of the United States. Continue reading Hypothesis Confirmed: Sea Lion Mass Deaths Caused by Malnutrition

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Update: Sampling for Fukushima Derived Radionuclides in the Northeast Pacific and Arctic 2015

By Jay T. Cullen

Locations where surface seawater samples were collected for the InFORM project in July 2015. Surface seawater temperatures at the time of collection are shown with values greater than 16C in the anomalous region referred to colloquially as “the blob”.


The purpose of this short post is to update readers on the activities of the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) project. This post is the most recent in a series documenting scientific research into the impact of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster on environmental and public health. Surface seawater samples were collected from the icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier as it traveled between Victoria BC to Dutch Harbor Alaska during July 2015. These seawater samples will be analyzed to characterize the distribution of Fukushima derived radionuclides 137-Cesium (137Cs half life ~30 years), and 134-Cesium (134Cs half life ~2 years). As in previous years this information will help to determine how well model predictions of the activities and progression of ocean borne contamination across the Pacific Ocean match with observations. Understanding the spread of this contamination provides important information on the impact of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster on the health of the Pacific ecosystem and the North American public. The evolution of the contaminant plume in time and space also helps the scientific community to better understand ocean mixing which is a key parameter toward understanding the oceans role in mitigating atmospheric greenhouse gas increases and climate change.
Continue reading Update: Sampling for Fukushima Derived Radionuclides in the Northeast Pacific and Arctic 2015

Sampling for Fukushima Derived Radionuclides in the Northeast Pacific and Arctic 2015

By Jay T. Cullen

Bow of the CCGS Laurier. Great ship and crew for science operations in the Arctic.
The purpose of this short post is to update readers on the activities of the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) project. This post is the most recent in a series documenting scientific research into the impact of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster on environmental and public health. Today the icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier will leave Victoria BC bound for Dutch Harbor Alaska and then up through Bering Sea and Strait to the Arctic Ocean. On the way the InFORM project will collect surface seawater to characterize the distribution of Fukushima derived radionuclides 137-Cesium (137Cs half life ~30 years), and 134-Cesium (134Cs half life ~2 years). As in previous years this information will help to determine how well model predictions of the activities and progression of ocean borne contamination across the Pacific Ocean match with observations. This provides important information on the impact of this contamination on the health of the Pacific ecosystem and the North American public that rely on the ocean for their food, livelihood and recreation. The evolution of the contaminant plume in time and space also helps the scientific community to better understand ocean mixing which is a key parameter toward understanding the oceans role in mitigating atmospheric greenhouse gas increases and climate change. Continue reading Sampling for Fukushima Derived Radionuclides in the Northeast Pacific and Arctic 2015

Fukushima Contamination Detected at Shoreline in British Columbia

Satellite measurements of ocean temperature (illustrated by color) and the direction of currents (white arrows) help show where radionuclides from Fukushima are transported. Large scale currents transport water westward across the Pacific. Circles indicate the locations where water samples were collected. White circles indicate that no cesium-134 was detected. Blue circles indicate locations were low levels of cesium-134 were detected. Small amounts of cesium-134 have been detected in a water sample taken Feb. 19, 2015, from a dock in Ucluelet, British Columbia. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


The purpose of this post is to report that for the first time ocean borne contamination from Fukushima has been detected at the shoreline in British Columbia representing the first landfall in North America. Citizen scientists collected the sample on February 19, 2015 in the town of Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island Canada as part of our partner program Our Radioactive Ocean out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the USA. The isotope Cesium-134 (134Cs half life ~2 years) is an unequivocal fingerprint of Fukushima derived contamination because all other sources of this man made isotope (principally the Chernobyl disaster in 1986) are far enough in the past that 134Cs has long since decayed to levels too low to detect today. The Ucluelet sample contained 134Cs at 1.4 Becquerel per cubic meter (Bq m-3) of seawater and 5.8 Bq m-3 of the longer lived 137Cs (half life ~30 years). These levels were expected given measurements made by monitoring programs offshore and modeling studies which predict the arrival time and activity of Fukushima radionuclides. These levels of 137Cs and 134Cs, are well below internationally established levels that might represent a danger to human or environmental health. The next number of months will be very important to track the ocean transport of the contamination as citizen scientists with Our Radioactive Ocean and the InFORM project continue to collect samples up and down the coast of North America. Continue reading Fukushima Contamination Detected at Shoreline in British Columbia

B.C. radiation risk from Fukushima disaster ‘insignificant:’ research

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Published
Tuesday, Dec. 30 2014, 9:07 PM EST

As radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power-plant disaster drifted across the Pacific, fears that salmon and other marine life could be contaminated spread along the British Columbia coast.

But samples gathered by citizen scientists and a more comprehensive study done by Fisheries and Oceans Canada indicate the levels of radiation are so low they pose almost zero risk to human or ecosystem health. Continue reading B.C. radiation risk from Fukushima disaster ‘insignificant:’ research