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Oops! ‘Debris’ Search Is Moved Nearly 700 Miles

From an unquestioning Washington Post:

New speed data shifts search for missing Malaysian jetliner nearly 700 miles

By Jia Lynn Yang | March 28, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 shifted to another section of the southern Indian Ocean on Friday after new analysis by investigators indicated that the aircraft was traveling faster than previously thought — and therefore ran out of fuel much sooner.

The new search area is 680 miles northeast of where planes and ships have been scouring the waters for signs of the aircraft. It is also four times as large — 198,200 square miles, compared to the 48,500 square mile patch of ocean where the search had been focused, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

On Friday afternoon, a New Zealand plane spotted objects in the new search area, according to AMSA, and a ship is due to investigate further on Saturday.

The redirection of the search comes as a result of analysis of radar data collected as the plane traveled between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, before contact was lost, AMSA said. Those data show that the aircraft traveled faster than investigators thought, burned its fuel more quickly, and therefore traveled a shorter distance, according to the Australians. Authorities said they believe this new section of the ocean includes the spot where the flight ended its bizarre March 8 journey…

Friday’s development suggests that the phase of the search that began on March 18 in the southern Indian Ocean — and seemed to be steadily honing in on a smaller portion of the water — has been on the wrong track for more than a week.

Naturally, the news media and their experts will now all resign.

“We are starting on a blank page,” said Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia who studies this corner of the Indian Ocean. “We are in exactly the same situation we were in one week ago.”

The new area, though, is much closer to Perth, which will give planes more time to search, said Australian officials. And it moves the operation away from the turbulent part of the ocean known as the “roaring forties,” to a region where Pattiaratchi said winds and currents are much calmer.

It is not clear how authorities are now regarding the other objects spotted by satellites in recent days, floating in an area far to the southwest of the refocused search.

Malaysian defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the objects seen in those satellite images are still potentially pieces of the missing plane or its cargo since ocean drift and the unpredictable currents in that part of the ocean could account for their location.

This is technically known as ‘clutching at straws’ to ‘try to save face.’

But Pattiaratchi, the currents expert, said there is “absolutely no chance” the objects picked up in satellite images drifted so far southwest from the area new being searched. The new section being searched and the old one, he said, are in completely different systems of currents, and it’s unlikely for objects to move from one to another. If they did, he said, it would take several years.

Australian officials said the new lead was based on continued analysis of information pieced together from radar and satellite data during the course of the investigation…

Between bad weather and the unpredictable interplay of wind and ocean currents, observers have run into a series of dead ends…

Needless to say, that is the fault of global warming.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 28th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Oops! ‘Debris’ Search Is Moved Nearly 700 Miles”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    MH370 is in a ‘Stan

    I blame global warming

  2. Right of the People says:

    Where are they getting their search data from, Google Maps?

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