Airline officials are waiting to confirm if a piece of wreckage found on the shores of Reunion Island east of Madagascar is a match to a Boeing 777 and belongs to the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
After going missing in March 2014, officials have been scouring the ocean for remnants of the plane in search for answers as to why and where the plane went down. Due to the many ocean currents that swirl throughout the Indian Ocean, different pieces of debris could be spread throughout the basin, complicating search efforts up to this point.
More than 500 days after the plane went missing, inspectors in France will determine whether a plane wing that washed onto the remote island belongs to MH370.
However, the location of a potential piece of debris will not bring any exact clues as to where the plane went down or where other parts still remain.
A gyre, or a current on the ocean surface, located in the Southern Hemisphere creates the South Equatorial Current in the Indian Ocean.
"Depending on where exactly MH370 went down, it is conceivable that debris would be set adrift in this current, which flows from east to west, and eventually make its way to Reunion Island, which is located right at the western fringe of the current," AccuWeather Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani said.
"The weather is one of the biggest drivers of global ocean currents. Subtropical highs develop in each ocean basin around the world, and the surface currents tend to follow the wind direction around these highs," he said.
The gyres are just one part of the equation, however. Embedded in overall broad ocean currents are small eddies that create turbulence and make it complicated to track the flow of potential debris.
"More debris could wash up, or potentially already has," Sagliani said.