Friday, November 28, 2014

Search for MH370 : hopes fresh drift model will improve debris search in Australia

Research centre gets a report a week of material washing ashore in Western Australia but none are linked to missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft

From The Guardian

Australia is working on new drift modelling to expand the geographical area in which wreckage from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may come ashore, the Australian search coordinator said on Wednesday.

New search area with the Marine GeoGarage (AHS chart)

Initial analysis had suggested the first debris from the plane could come ashore at West Sumatra in Indonesia after about 123 days.
“We are currently working ... to see if we can get an updated drift model for a much wider area where there might be possibilities of debris washing ashore,” the search coordinator, Peter Foley, said in Perth.

 Last week, the ATSB gave an update which includes an extension of the ‘7th Arc’ search area with a drifting approach where parts may have been caught in an ocean current, bringing them ashore of Western Sumatra after 123 days.

Foley said the research centre was receiving reports at least once a week of debris washed up on the Australian coastline, but none has so far been identified as coming from the missing aircraft.

The drift modelling supplements an ongoing surface and underwater search for the plane, which disappeared over the remote Indian Ocean on 8 March with 239 people on board.

Current search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 became all the more complicated with an internal disagreement among investigators.
The differences in their opinion resulted to the deployment of the search vessels in two separate priority areas

The chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Martin Dolan, on Tuesday dismissed suggestions there was disagreement on the search area among the five groups that make up the international team - Boeing Co in the US, Thales in France, US investigator the National Transportation Safety Board and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

The teams initially agreed an area about 600km long by 90km wide west of Perth, Western Australia, was most likely.
A new report released last month specified two high-priority areas further south.
“There is no disagreement, just the deliberate application of differing analysis models,” Dolan said.

Representation of probability distribution at 6th (0011) arc for constrained autopilot dynamics (red) and data error optimization (green).
Red flight paths are most probable paths from the two types of analysis.
Area of interest on 7th (0019) arc covers 80% of probable paths from the two analyses at 0011 and consideration of the MRC approximate southern boundary

All five groups agree MH370’s final resting place is near the “seventh arc” a curve that stretches from about 1,000km off Exmouth in WA, to a point about 2,000km south-west of Perth, Dolan said.
More than 6,900 sq km of sea floor has been searched so far.

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