Posted at 12:20 AM on March 17, 2011
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Japan disaster 2011
Meteorologists have been watching the Japan nuclear incident closely.
Now a UN forecast calls for minor amounts of radiation to stream across the Pacific and reach California by Friday, according to a story in the New York Times.
The report emphasizes there is no cause for alarm, and that any amounts that reach the U.S. mainland should have only minor effects.
From the Times story:
"A United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese reactors shows it churning across the Pacific, and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.
Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in 10 days, its levels measurable but minuscule."
Here's the Times graphic of the plume by Friday. You can see the full animation here.
It is not out of the question that trace amounts could reach Minnesota.
Let me emphasize again, any radioactivity that does reach the USA would be highly diluted by the winds as it crosses the Pacific. Still, it's a real eye opener, and worth watching as the tragedy unfolds.