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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

KIOST Confirms Movement of Marine Litter from North Korea and China into the East Sea

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  • Date : 2016-11-05

Tracked course of marine debris using GOCI


The Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST, President Hong Gi-hoon) recently announced that it has tracked the flow of land-based marine debris in the East Sea caused by flooding in the area around the border between North Korea and China in August.


Using the marine debris movement and dispersion model developed by the research team led by Park Young-gyu, head of the Physical Oceanography Division, KIOST found that marine debris from North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, and Yanbian, China, had traveled south along the east coast from August 28 to September 26.

The research team projected and tracked the course of the marine debris based on ocean currents and wind using the dispersion model, discovering that the debris found in the waters off Gangneung on September 17 had originated from an area near Duman River on approximately August 28.


After analyzing the concentration of the debris, based on high-resolution satellite images taken by the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI), the research team led by Cho Seong-ik, head of the Korea Ocean Satellite Center (KOSC) at KIOST, confirmed that the marine litter had moved south along the east coast of Korea.

A significant amount of debris, including trash, flows from the land into the sea. According to data from the GOCI satellite, marine debris with a higher concentration than previous years flowed from north to south along the east coast, as was predicted by the dispersion model.


President Hong Gi-hoon said, “With our dispersion model and the GOCI satellite, we are able to determine the course of marine debris that flows into the waters off the east coast of Korea. We can also detect green and brown tides.” He went on to say, “We will spare no effort to provide accurate, scientific analyses of various issues concerning the nation’s oceans and coastal areas.”


GOCI, the world’s first ocean color observation satellite to be launched in a geostationary orbit, was co-developed by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and launched in 2010. Created to monitor the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula, the satellite is operated by the Korea Ocean Satellite Center (KOSC) at KIOST to foster the ocean and fishing industries as growth engines for the national economy and systematically manage Korea’s marine territory.


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Last Update : 2020-03-07