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Detecting microplastics pollution in world oceans using SAR remote sensing

Davaasuren, Narangerel and Marino, Armando and Boardman, Carl and Alparone, Matteo and Nunziata, Ferdinando and Ackermann, Nicolas and Hajnsek, Irena (2018) Detecting microplastics pollution in world oceans using SAR remote sensing. In: International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), pp. 938-941. IEEE. IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 2018-07-22 - 2018-07-27, Valencia, Spain. doi: 10.1109/IGARSS.2018.8517281. ISBN 978-1-5386-7150-4. ISSN 2153-7003.

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Official URL: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8517281


Plastic pollution in world oceans is estimated to have reached 270.000 tones, or 5.25 trillion pieces. This plastic is now ubiquitous, however due to ocean circulation patterns, it accumulates in the ocean gyres, creating garbage patches. This plastic debris is colonized by microorganisms which can create unique surfactants and bio-film ecosystems. Microbial colonization is the first step towards disintegration and degradation of plastic materials: a process that releases metabolic by-products from energy synthesis. These byproducts include the release of short-chain and more complex carbon molecules in the form of surfactants, which we hypothesize will affect the fluid dynamic properties of waves (change in viscosity and surface tension) and make them detectable by the SAR sensor. In this study we used Sentinel-1A and COSMO-SkyMed SAR images in selected sites of the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans, close to the ocean gyres and away from the coastal interference. Together with SAR processing we conducted contextual image analysis, using ocean geophysical products of the sea surface temperature, surface wind, chlorophyll, wave heights and wave spectrum of the ocean surface. In addition, we started lab experiments under controlled conditions to test the behaviour of microbes colonizing the two most common marine pollutants, polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) microplastics. The analysis of the SAR images had shown that a combination of surface wind speed and Langmuir cells- ocean circulation pattern is the main controlling factor in creating the distinct appearance of the surfactants, sea-slicks and microbial bio-films. The preliminary conclusion of our study is that SAR remote sensing may be able to detect plastic pollution in the open oceans and this method can be extended to other areas.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/127426/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Detecting microplastics pollution in world oceans using SAR remote sensing
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Davaasuren, NarangerelOpen University, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Marino, ArmandoUniversity of Stirling, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Alparone, MatteoUniversità di Napoli Parthenope, ItalyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Nunziata, FerdinandoUniversità di Napoli Parthenope, ItalyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ackermann, NicolasSwiss Federal Railways, SwitzerlandUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS)
Refereed publication:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Page Range:pp. 938-941
Series Name:IEEE Xplore Digital Library
Keywords:Microplastics, Surfactants, Sea-slicks, Microbial bio-films, SAR, Sentinel-1A, COSMO-SkyMed, TerraSAR-X
Event Title:IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS)
Event Location:Valencia, Spain
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:2018-07-22 - 2018-07-27
Organizer:IEEE GRSS
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Security-relevant Earth Observation
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Microwaves and Radar Institute > Radar Concepts
Deposited By: Radzuweit, Sibylle
Deposited On:20 May 2019 08:08
Last Modified:20 May 2019 09:19

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