Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, setting a complex stage for the ongoing search for MH370. If the Boeing 777 did plunge into the ocean somewhere in the vicinity of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, the location where its debris finally ends up, if found at all, may be vastly different from where investigators could have anticipated 30 years ago.
The search of 8,880 square miles of ocean has yet to turn up signs of the missing flight.
Even if the fragments captured in satellite images are identified as being part of the jet, which Malaysian officials say deliberately flew off course on March 8, investigators coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will still have an enormous task to locate remaining parts of the plane and its flight recorders. Among the assets deployed in the search—including a multinational array of military and civil naval resources—are data modelers, whose task will be reconciling regional air and water currents with local weather patterns to produce a possible debris field. “Data marker buoys” are being dropped into the ocean to assist in providing “information about water movement to assist in drift modeling,” John Young from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority told a press conference in Canberra on Thursday.