Plastic pollution is widespread in the global oceans, but at the same time several other types ofhydrophobic pol- lutants contaminate themarine environment. Asmore andmore evidence highlights, microplastics and polluting chemicals are intertwined via adsorption/desorption processes. A thorough assessment of their total impact on marine ecosystems thus requires that these two kinds ofpollution are not considered separately. Here we compare the outcomes of two complementary, data-driven modelling approaches for microplastic dispersal and for Plastic-Related Organic Pollutants (PROPs) in the marine environment. Focusing on the Mediterranean Sea, we simulate two years of Lagrangian particle tracking to map microplastic dispersion from the most impacting sources ofpollution (i.e. coastal areas, the watersheds ofmajor rivers, and fishing activities). Our particle sources are data-informed by national census data, hydrological regimes, and vessel tracking data to account for spatial and temporal variability of mismanaged plastic waste generation. These particle-based simulations are complemented with a simulation of the dynamics of primary pollutants in the sea, obtained via an advection- diffusion Eulerian model. While providing further understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of microplastics and the dynamics of PROPs at a Mediterranean-wide scale, our results call for the development of novel integrated modelling approaches aimed at coupling the dynamics ofmicroplastics with the chemical ex- changes occurring through them, thus promoting a holistic description ofmarine plastic pollution

The dynamics of microplastics and associated contaminants: Data-driven Lagrangian and Eulerian modelling approaches in the Mediterranean Sea

Guerrini, Federica;Mari, Lorenzo;Casagrandi, Renato
2021

Abstract

Plastic pollution is widespread in the global oceans, but at the same time several other types ofhydrophobic pol- lutants contaminate themarine environment. Asmore andmore evidence highlights, microplastics and polluting chemicals are intertwined via adsorption/desorption processes. A thorough assessment of their total impact on marine ecosystems thus requires that these two kinds ofpollution are not considered separately. Here we compare the outcomes of two complementary, data-driven modelling approaches for microplastic dispersal and for Plastic-Related Organic Pollutants (PROPs) in the marine environment. Focusing on the Mediterranean Sea, we simulate two years of Lagrangian particle tracking to map microplastic dispersion from the most impacting sources ofpollution (i.e. coastal areas, the watersheds ofmajor rivers, and fishing activities). Our particle sources are data-informed by national census data, hydrological regimes, and vessel tracking data to account for spatial and temporal variability of mismanaged plastic waste generation. These particle-based simulations are complemented with a simulation of the dynamics of primary pollutants in the sea, obtained via an advection- diffusion Eulerian model. While providing further understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of microplastics and the dynamics of PROPs at a Mediterranean-wide scale, our results call for the development of novel integrated modelling approaches aimed at coupling the dynamics ofmicroplastics with the chemical ex- changes occurring through them, thus promoting a holistic description ofmarine plastic pollution
Advection-diffusion; Marine pollution; Microplastics; Oceanographic reanalyses
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1169200
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