Animated map of microplastics in the ocean

Microplastics in the ocean

Using satellites scientists have mapped out the the ocean’s plastic problem. Beyond just the micro plastic, you can see the massive garbage patches. They are able to estimate plastic concentration using the waves.

Via Earth Observatory:

Researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) recently developed a new method to map the concentration of ocean microplastics around the world. The researchers used data from eight microsatellites that are part of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission. Radio signals from GPS satellites reflect off the ocean surface, and CYGNSS satellites detect those reflections. Scientists then analyze the signals to measure the roughness of the ocean surface. These measurements provide scientists with a means to derive ocean wind speeds, which is useful for studying phenomena like hurricanes. It turns out that the signals also reveal the presence of plastic.

Read more, (h/t flowing data)


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