Global patterns for the spatial distribution of floating microfibers: Arctic Ocean as a potential accumulation zone

Catégorie : Détection & Caractérisation
Date :8 janvier 2021
Lima, Andre R. A.; Ferreira, Guilherme V. B.; Barrows, Abigail P. W.; Christiansen, Katie S.; Treinish, Gregg; Toshack, Michelle C.
Journal of Hazardous Materials : 403
Despite their representativeness, most studies to date have underestimated the amount of microfibers (MFs) in the marine environment. Therefore, further research is still necessary to identify key processes governing MF distribution. Here, the interaction among surface water temperature, salinity, currents and winds explained the patterns of MF accumulation. The estimated density of floating MFs is similar to 5900 +/- 6800 items m3 in the global ocean; and three patterns of accumulation were predicted by the proposed model: (i) intermediate densities in ocean gyres, Seas of Japan and of Okhotsk, Mediterranean and around the Antarctic Ocean; (ii) high densities in the Arctic Ocean; and (iii) point zones of highest densities inside the Arctic Seas. Coastal areas and upwelling systems have low accumulation potential. At the same time, zones of divergences between westerlies and trade winds, located above the tropical oceanic gyres, are predicted to accumulate MFs. In addition, it is likely that the warm branch of the thermohaline circulation has an important role in the transport of MFs towards the Arctic Ocean, emphasizing that surface water masses are important predictors. This study highlights that the Arctic Ocean is a dead end for floating MFs.