Geography Oceanography, and Weather

Oceanography and Weather

What unusual floating objects have been used to help chart currents in the oceans?

In a rather humorous example of kismet, oceanographers have been taking advantage of a 1990 accident in which a Korean cargo ship accidentally dumped 80,000 Nike shoes into the ocean. Since then, whenever these shoes have been found floating in the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere, oceanographers have taken note, tracking where the accident originally occurred and comparing it with the location where the shoes were found. In this way, they were able to gather additional information about currents.

It wasn’t long before another accident created a new opportunity for studying the currents. In January 1992 a ship hauling toys lost part of its cargo in a storm. Nearly 30,000 rubber ducks, frogs, turtles, and beavers fell into the ocean. As with the athletic shoes, these toys, as they washed up on various shorelines, served as excellent indicators of the course taken by ocean currents.


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