Microplastics and nanoplastics in the marine-atmosphere environment

Deonie Allen, Steve Allen, Sajjad Abbasi, Alex Baker, Melanie Bergmann, Janice Brahney, Tim Butler, Robert A. Duce, Sabine Eckhardt, Nikolaos Evangeliou, Tim Jickells, Maria Kanakidou, Peter Kershaw, Paolo Laj, Joseph Levermore, Daoji Li, Peter Liss, Kai Liu, Natalie Mahowald, Pere MasqueDušan Materić, Andrew G. Mayes, Paul McGinnity, Iolanda Osvath, Kimberly A. Prather, Joseph M. Prospero, Laura E. Revell, Sylvia G. Sander, Won Joon Shim, Jonathan Slade, Ariel Stein, Oksana Tarasova, Stephanie Wright

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73 Citations (Scopus)
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The discovery of atmospheric micro(nano)plastic transport and ocean–atmosphere exchange points to a highly complex marine plastic cycle, with negative implications for human and ecosystem health. Yet, observations are currently limited. In this Perspective, we quantify the processes and fluxes of the marine-atmospheric micro(nano)plastic cycle, with the aim of highlighting the remaining unknowns in atmospheric micro(nano)plastic transport. Between 0.013 and 25 million metric tons per year of micro(nano)plastics are potentially being transported within the marine atmosphere and deposited in the oceans. However, the high uncertainty in these marine-atmospheric fluxes is related to data limitations and a lack of study intercomparability. To address the uncertainties and remaining knowledge gaps in the marine-atmospheric micro(nano)plastic cycle, we propose a future global marine-atmospheric micro(nano)plastic observation strategy, incorporating novel sampling methods and the creation of a comparable, harmonized and global data set. Together with long-term observations and intensive investigations, this strategy will help to define the trends in marine-atmospheric pollution and any responses to future policy and management actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393–405
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Earth & Environment
Issue number6
Early online date10 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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