Conference Proceeding

Monitoring Surfactants Pollution Potentially Related to Plastics in the World Gyres Using Radar Remote Sensing

Citation

Simpson M, Marino A, de Maagt P, Gandini E, Hunter P, Spyrakos E, Tyler A, Ackermann N, Hajnsek I, Nunziata F & Telfer T (2021) Monitoring Surfactants Pollution Potentially Related to Plastics in the World Gyres Using Radar Remote Sensing. In: 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS. IGARSS 2021 - 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Brussels, Belgium, 11.07.2021-16.07.2021. Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/igarss47720.2021.9553406

Abstract
Plastics within the ocean have been found to be colonised by microorganisms that, as a by-product of their metabolism, produce surfactants. Short capillary waves on the sea surface can get dampened due to the increased surface elasticity of these surfactants. Radar satellites are sensitive to surface roughness and can therefore detect the dampening of these waves. This research investigates areas inside the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean gyres using ESA Sentinel-1 and DLR TerraSAR-X data. We found out that we can observe several surfactant instances in the gyres and these are not correlated to medium or high level of chlorophyll. We can exclude that they have origin in biogenic slicks. Among other possible unknown origins, we hypothesise that these surfactants are produced from plastic concentrations within the ocean.

Keywords
Sea surface; Surface waves; Wind speed; Surface contamination; Surface roughness; Water pollution; Rough surfaces

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online31/10/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/33562
PublisherIEEE
Place of publicationPiscataway, NJ, USA
ISSN of series2153-7003
eISBN978-1-6654-0369-6
ConferenceIGARSS 2021 - 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
Conference locationBrussels, Belgium
Dates