Researchers find microplastics in Arctic sea ice

Plastic particles have now been found in ice from the Arctic ocean.

    2019/08/20

NSFW    THE ARCTIC — Researchers aboard the Swedish Icebreaker Oden as part of the Northwest Passage Project, an 18-day expedition through the Northwest Passage, have found microplastics polluting ice from the Arctic Ocean.

The researchers first used a helicopter to land on ice floes, Reuters reports. They then used a drill to obtain a total of 18 ice core samples from four locations. The team shared images of the sampled ice containing visibly different shapes and sizes of plastic beads and filaments.

The team plans to analyze the ice samples to get a better understanding of how plastic particles in ice could affect fish, seabirds and large ocean mammals in the Arctic.

The Northwest Passage Project's main aim is to make assessments on how climate change is impacting the Arctic.

According to the project's website, the mission specifically focused on four research areas. Scientists gathered data on water mass and circulation inside the Canadian Arctic Archipelago to analyze how the water column chemistry affects greenhouse gas accumulation.

They also examined how microscopic habitats are transitioning because of climate conditions and monitored marine bird distribution in the Arctic region.

The expedition took place between July 18 to August 4.

In a separate study published in the journal Science Advances, scientists found microplastics present in Arctic sea ice, as well as the Arctic water column and its surface waters. Researchers in the study assessed that the plastic particles found in the Arctic are transported by the wind.
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