The physical oceanography of the transport of floating marine debris

Type Article
Date 2020-02
Language English
Author(s) Van Sebille Erik1, Aliani Stefano2, Law Kara Lavender3, Maximenko Nikolai4, Alsina José M5, Bagaev Andrei6, 7, Bergmann Melanie8, Chapron BertrandORCID9, Chubarenko Irina6, Cózar Andrés10, Delandmeter Philippe1, Egger Matthias11, 12, Fox-Kemper Baylor, Garaba Shungudzemwoyo P11, 13, Goddijn-Murphy Lonneke14, Hardesty Britta Denise15, Hoffman Matthew J16, Isobe Atsuhiko17, Jongedijk Cleo E18, Kaandorp Mikael L A1, Khatmullina Liliya6, Koelmans Albert A20, Kukulka Tobias21, Laufkötter Charlotte22, Lebreton Laurent11, Lobelle Delphine1, 23, 24, Maes Christophe9, 25, Martinez-Vicente Victor26, Morales Maqueda Miguel Angel27, Poulain-Zarcos Marie28, 29, Rodríguez Ernesto30, Ryan Peter G31, Shanks Alan L32, Shim Won Joon33, Suaria Giuseppe, Thiel Martin2, 34, 35, 36, Van Den Bremer Ton S37, Wichmann David1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
2 : Institute of Marine Sciences—National Research Council (ISMAR-CNR), La Spezia, Italy
3 : Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA, United States of America
4 : International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, United States of America
5 : Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain
6 : Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
7 : Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
8 : Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany
9 : Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), France
10 : Dpto. de Biología, Facultad de Cc. del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz, Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar, E-11510 Puerto Real, Spain
11 : The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
12 : Dept. of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America
13 : Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, United States of America
14 : Marine Sensor Systems Group, Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany
15 : Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands, United Kingdom
16 : Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, TAS, Australia
17 : School of Mathematical Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, United States of America
18 : Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Japan
19 : Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
20 : Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
21 : School of Marine Science and Policy, University of Delaware, United States of America
22 : Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
23 : Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
24 : National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, United Kingdom
25 : University of Brest, Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD), Brest, France
26 : Remote Sensing Group, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom
27 : School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
28 : Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse, University of Toulouse, CNRS, UMR 5502, Toulouse, France
29 : Laboratoire des Interactions Moléculaires et Réactivité Chimique et Photochimique, University of Toulouse, CNRS, UMR 5623, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France
30 : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States of America
31 : FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
32 : Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon, Charleston, Oregon 97420 United States of America
33 : Oil and POPs Research Group, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Geoje-shi 53201, Republic of Korea
34 : Facultad Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile
35 : Millennium Nucleus Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI), Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile
36 : Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA), Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile
37 : Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Source Environmental Research Letters (1748-9326) (IOP Publishing), 2020-02 , Vol. 15 , N. 2 , P. 023003 (33p.)
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/ab6d7d
WOS© Times Cited 334
Keyword(s) marine debris, physical oceanography, ocean circulation, remote sensing, fluid dynamics

Marine plastic debris floating on the ocean surface is a major environmental problem. However, its distribution in the ocean is poorly mapped, and most of the plastic waste estimated to have entered the ocean from land is unaccounted for. Better understanding of how plastic debris is transported from coastal and marine sources is crucial to quantify and close the global inventory of marine plastics, which in turn represents critical information for mitigation or policy strategies. At the same time, plastic is a unique tracer that provides an opportunity to learn more about the physics and dynamics of our ocean across multiple scales, from the Ekman convergence in basin-scale gyres to individual waves in the surfzone. In this review, we comprehensively discuss what is known about the different processes that govern the transport of floating marine plastic debris in both the open ocean and the coastal zones, based on the published literature and referring to insights from neighbouring fields such as oil spill dispersion, marine safety recovery, plankton connectivity, and others. We discuss how measurements of marine plastics (both in situ and in the laboratory), remote sensing, and numerical simulations can elucidate these processes and their interactions across spatio-temporal scales.

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Van Sebille Erik, Aliani Stefano, Law Kara Lavender, Maximenko Nikolai, Alsina José M, Bagaev Andrei, Bergmann Melanie, Chapron Bertrand, Chubarenko Irina, Cózar Andrés, Delandmeter Philippe, Egger Matthias, Fox-Kemper Baylor, Garaba Shungudzemwoyo P, Goddijn-Murphy Lonneke, Hardesty Britta Denise, Hoffman Matthew J, Isobe Atsuhiko, Jongedijk Cleo E, Kaandorp Mikael L A, Khatmullina Liliya, Koelmans Albert A, Kukulka Tobias, Laufkötter Charlotte, Lebreton Laurent, Lobelle Delphine, Maes Christophe, Martinez-Vicente Victor, Morales Maqueda Miguel Angel, Poulain-Zarcos Marie, Rodríguez Ernesto, Ryan Peter G, Shanks Alan L, Shim Won Joon, Suaria Giuseppe, Thiel Martin, Van Den Bremer Ton S, Wichmann David (2020). The physical oceanography of the transport of floating marine debris. Environmental Research Letters, 15(2), 023003 (33p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :