The University of WA oceanography department is using special reverse computer modelling to re-create the drift of wreckage found on Reunion Island to determine how it got to the remote Indian Ocean island.
A section of a wing from a Boeing 777 was found on the island and is presumed to be that of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared 16 months ago.
By analysing ocean currents, University of Western Australia Professor of coastal oceanography Charitha Pattiaratchi predicted more than a year ago that any debris from MH370 would come ashore in East Africa or nearby islands.
The anticlockwise Indian Ocean current flows up the Australian coast and west to Africa.
Professor Pattiaratchi told reporters that he expected the reverse modelling of the drift pattern of the wing part would confirm that search teams were looking in the right area — to the south-west of Perth.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.