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Surface water circulation develops seasonally changing patterns of floating litter accumulation in the Mediterranean Sea. A modelling approach

TitleSurface water circulation develops seasonally changing patterns of floating litter accumulation in the Mediterranean Sea. A modelling approach
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMacias, D, Cózar, A, Garcia-Gorriz, E, González-Fernández, D, Stips, A
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume149
Pagination110619
ISSN0025-326X
KeywordsFloating litter, Mediterranean Sea, Numerical modelling, Surface circulation
Abstract

Marine litter and, particularly, plastics are a growing concern at global scale. The Mediterranean Sea is among the zones in the world with the highest concentration of floating plastic debris. However, our knowledge remains limited on the spatial distribution of litter across this basin. Here, a set of different numerical model simulations were conducted to examine the dynamic conditions of the surface layer of the Mediterranean and how this drives the circulation and accumulation of floating litter. Seasonal dynamics of surface water circulation led to contrasting distribution patterns of floating litter along the year. Multiple hot spots of litter zones appeared across the basin in summer, while litter disperses and moves towards the Eastern Mediterranean and nearshore waters in winter. Taking into account such seasonal variability in the spatial patterns of litter in the Mediterranean seems to be key in the design of further sampling surveys and management strategies.

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X19307672
DOI10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.110619