Several directorates within the National Science Foundation (NSF) — including Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) — issued a Dear Colleague Letter this afternoon calling for proposals relating to the potential threat of debris fields from the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami upon the West coast of North America:
In the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, fields of debris are now washing up on the western shores of the United States. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Japanese authorities say that approximately five million tons of wreckage flowed into the Pacific Ocean following the earthquake and tsunami. While a majority of it likely sank, experts estimate that between one to two million tons was left floating and is heading toward North America. The debris fields are expected to reach and potentially threaten the west coast of North America from the spring of 2012 through late 2014.