The project FACTS will create new knowledge and improve our understanding on the sources, transport, occurrence, and fate of small microplastics in the northern marine waters. FACTS will combine the newest methods to describe transport and geographical sources of microplastics contamination. We will also investigate where microplastic particles will end up both in temperate waters of the southern North Sea and the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea. We will work on the research of where MP can be found in the water column and use the Skagerrak as a major sink zone. We will investigate transport processes by drifting in water, transport in air and aggregation and sinking processes. FACTS also zooms in on the geographic scale to study microplastic transport and fate in a semi enclosed fjord system in Bergen, Norway. The goal is to address the question of how MP move vertically in the water column.
FACTS is structured around a set of sampling campaigns reaching from the German Bight in the South to Svalbard in the North, where samples were collected from research vessels and land-based stations. Airsamples were collected during a four-week long cruise along the Norwegian coast and along the coast of Svalbard in June 2021, using two different sampling methods. The samples were processed in the laboratory at NILU and University of Oldenburg in 20222. PyrGC/MS was used to determine MP amounts in these airsamples. First results indicate that atmospheric Mps could be detected in all airsamples, with PS and PP as the dominating polymertypes. Tyre wear particles could be detected in samples taken with high volume samplers. The acquired results were applied in atmospheric transport models to evaluate their probability to originate from local or long-distanced sources. First results point to local sources dominating over distanced sources. A guest visit of PhD student from University Oldenburg at NILU, Tromsø , was carried out in January/ February 2022. The aim was to evaluate the possibility to simultaneously analyse airsamples with RAMAN spectroscopy and pyGC/MS. One scientific publication presenting the results is under preparation, with a number of scientific presentations planned at international conferences, early 2023. Finally, FACTS will share their expertise and findings to a wide range of stakeholders, ranging from other scientists to European decision makers. This has already progressed well, with among others 2 overview reports on 1) Norwegian research activities of environmental MP and 2) an AMAP report on mthods and strategies for sampling air for MPs
FACTS will create new knowledge and improve our mechanistic understanding on the sources, transport, occurrence, and fate of small microplastics in the northern marine waters. FACTS will combine state-of-the-art analytical, monitoring and modelling approaches in feedback cycles to describe transport and geographical sources of microplastics contamination as well as sinks from the temperate waters of the southern North Sea to the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea. It analyses the distribution of MP in the water column and quantifies Skagerrak as a major sink zone. Investigated transport processes range from drift scenarios to air transport to aggregation and sinking processes. FACTS also zooms in on the geographic scale to study microplastic transport and fate in a semi enclosed fjord system. The goal is to address the question of how MP move vertically in the water column with time under comparatively well-defined hydrodynamic conditions.
FACTS is structured around a set of sampling campaigns reaching from the German Bight to Svalbard, where samples are collected from large research vessels, smaller research vessels, fishery vessels and land based stations. Plastic particle concentrations, obtained from the proposed sampling campaigns are implemented into oceanographic models. The modelling approach is used to integrate release and transport scenarios, and the likelihood and timescale for particle pathways is estimated based on sinking, defragmentation, and beaching rates, obtained from observations. FACTS will be enhanced by tackling the current challenges of nanoplastics and tyre wear particle detection in marine samples. Both particle types are currently not accessible for mass balances of marine plastics contamination. Finally FACTS synthesises the knowledge gained and disseminates it to a wide range of stakeholders, ranging from other scientists to European decision makers.