The NASA Audience This December 4th an animated map that shows ocean plastic flows and highlights the extent of pollution of marine waters around the world. Such a representation was made possible thanks to a new method for quantifying the volumes of this substance, developed by a group of researchers from the University of Michigan (USA).
The map details the location and concentration of plastic that floated in the oceans between April 2017 and September 2018. The animated representation data was collected, between 38 degrees north latitude and 38 degrees south latitude, by eight microsatellites of Cyclone Global Navigation. Satellite System Hurricane Forecasting System (CYGNSS).
How was the card formed?
Scientists normally calculate the amount of plastic waste in marine waters by collecting it by trawls. In this case, an innovative technique was used: the specialists analyzed the radio signals emitted by the GPS satellites, which were reflected by the ocean surface and then picked up by CYGNSS.
Thus, the experts were able to calculate roughness of the sea surface. The point is that if there is plastic or other debris, then the waves are fading, which makes the surface less agitated.
âIn cleaner waters, there are a high degree of coincidence between the roughness of the ocean and the speed of the wind. But as we move towards the great Pacific waste area, we see a larger gap between measurements of wind speed and surface roughness, âexplained Chris Ruf, one of the authors of the survey. ‘study.
According to the estimates presented in the survey press release, approximately eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year through rivers and beaches.
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