Migrating to north, if you catch my drift...

Winter is retreating and spring is gaining foothold in Northern Europe. Migratory birds are slowly returning from their seasonal exile from south and it seems that our virtual fishing net is heading to north as well...

Short simulation video of the fishing net, 10.3.-7.4.2022

Longer simulation of the fishing net, 10.3.-7.4.2022

Start and end location of the virtual fishing net and the distance travelled, 10.3.-7.4.2022

Four weeks ago, when we were tracing the comings and goings of our derelict fishing gear, it seemed that the net was on a course towards east, to southwestern coast of Norway, or even to Skagerrak, the water body that separates Norway and Denmark. But what a difference four weeks can make. The net has not made a complete u turn, but still a 90 degree turn or something. In early March the net was about 100 km or so from the Norwegian coast, southwest of Stavanger and heading towards east. However, the net has totally changed its’ course and is drifting now towards north. The currents pushed the net closer to the Norwegian coast in late March, but after passing Bergen, the net drifted away from the coast and further into to open sea. The net has in fact traveled a staggering distance of over 500 km and is about 400 km away from the last starting point, which was a little above 58 degrees north. Now the net is located at 62 degrees north. There is strong currents on the Norwegian coast, as the water bodies of the North Sea meet the rocky Norwegian coast. These strong currents have put the net on a strong northern course.

But what are the likely next steps for the net, where can we expect it to be in the beginning of May? Well, there is two possible scenarios. The net could be taken towards northeast by the currents and it could follow in the foot steps of our virtual plastic bottle. It is not actually that far away from the location, where the plastic bottle’s journey started at the turn of the year. Other option is that the net will drift further away from the Norwegian coast towards north and into the Norwegian Sea. Should it head to west and continue on this course, it would end up in the Faroe Islands. Return back to the North Sea can’t be excluded either… Still, the net is in an area, where it is bound to have several other “compatriots”, as there is a lot of fishing activity in this area.

On next week we will continue our “Spring watch” in the Baltic Sea. Apparently the first icebreakers have returned to their summer nests, but where have our cigarette butts gone? We’ll find out that on next week!