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VaughnAn

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Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« on: June 05, 2019, 06:48:37 AM »
Maybe it is a good idea to start a separate thread for this important discussion?

Nanning, thanks for suggesting on the Stupid Questions thread that I start a new thread about how microplastics might affect sea ice thawing and potentially increase heat retention in seawater due to increased absorption of infrared radiation(IR).

I have watched pond and lake ice melt with debris and plastic bottles and pieces of plastic embedded in the ice.  Wherever there is debris and plastic the ice melts there first.  I have seen melt area around a piece of plastic in a pond of about 1 meter in diameter before the rest of the ice melts.

I have a greenhouse that I cover with a piece of plastic and the temperature inside can get quite warm even on a cold sunny day.

So, it follows that all this plastic in the ice would increase the absorption of IR in the ice more efficiently than sea ice alone. The extra IR absorbed by the pieces of plastic should create pores of liquid water surrounding these small pieces of plastic much like what happens in a pond.

So, my initial questions to start a discussion:
1. How effective are these little pieces of plastic at collecting heat in the ice and transmitting said heat into the ice to melt it when the sun is shining?
2. With 12,000 pieces of plastic per liter of ice, might it be possible for pores surrounding some of these little pieces of plastic to join together and eventually act like a porous sponge creating drainage channels in the process? 
3. Would this allow melt ponds to effectively drain even as they are trying to form especially on relatively thin ice?
4. Might this be another feedback to consider when forecasting sea melt?
5. Will all these pieces of plastic in the water effectively collect extra IR in the water too, similar to plastic over a greenhouse?

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 07:07:18 AM »
There appears to be vast quantities of plastic material in the Arctic:


Vast Quantities of Microplastics in Arctic Sea Ice—A Prime Temporary Sink for Plastic Litter and a Medium of Transport

https://epic.awi.de/id/eprint/43254/

Abstract:
Although the Arctic covers 6% of our planet’s surface and plays a key role in the Earth’s climate it remains one of the least explored ecosystems. The global change induced decline of sea ice has led to increasing anthropogenic presence in the Arctic Ocean. Exploitation of its resources is already underway, and Arctic waters are likely important future shipping lanes as indicated by already increasing numbers of fishing vessels, cruise liners and hydrocarbon prospecting in the area over the past decade. Global estimates of plastic entering the oceans currently exceed results based on empirical evidence by up to three orders of magnitude highlighting that we have not yet identified some of the major sinks of plastic in our oceans. Fragmentation into microplastics could explain part of the discrepancy. Indeed, microplastics were identified from numerous marine ecosystems globally, including the Arctic.
 Here, we analysed horizons of ice cores from the western and eastern Fram Strait by focal plane array based micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to assess if sea ice is a sink of microplastic. Ice cores were taken from land-locked and drifting sea ice to distinguish between local entrainment of microplastics vs long-distance transport. Mean concentrations of 2 x 106 particles m-3 in pack ice and 6 x 105 particles m-3 in land-locked ice were detected (numbers of fibers will soon be added). Eleven different polymer types were identified; polyethylene (PE) was the most abundant one. Preliminary results from four further ice cores from the central Arctic range in a similar order but the microplastics composition was very different. Calculation of drift trajectories by back-tracking of the ice floes sampled indicates multiple source areas, which explains the differences in the microplastic composition. Preliminary analysis of snow samples taken from ice floes in the Fram Strait showed numerous fibers of yet unknown but most likely anthropogenic origin indicating atmospheric fallout as a possible pathway.
 Our results exceed concentrations from the North Pacific by several orders of magnitudes. This can be explained partly by the process of ice formation, during which (organic) particles tend to concentrate by 1-2 orders of magnitude compared with ambient seawater. However, the magnitude of the difference indicates that Arctic sea ice is a temporal sink for microplastics. Increasing quantities of small plastic litter items on the seafloor nearby, which is located in the marginal ice zone corroborate the notion that melting sea ice releases entrained plastic particles and that sea ice acts as a vector of transport both horizontally and vertically to underlying ecosystem compartments.

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 07:16:08 AM »
This article from BBC discusses miroplastics in the Arctic:


Quote
"Using this approach, we also discovered plastic particles that were only 11 micrometres across," said co-researcher Gunnar Gerdts, also from the Alfred Wegener Institute.
"That's roughly one-sixth the diameter of a human hair, and also explains why we found concentrations of over 12,000 particles per litre of sea ice - which is two to three times higher than what we'd found in past measurements."

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43879389


VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 08:53:47 AM »
The volume and number of plastic particles in oceans and Arctic Ice has me concerned that we are missing an important source of IR absorption in seaice and seawater.  I have done some searching about absorption spectrums of some of these plastics.  Manufacturers seem more interested in transmission spectrums than absorption spectrums. 

There are colored plastic particles too especially black plastic that absorbs incoming light.  I am not sure about how much black and colored plastic is in the mix...

sidd

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 09:15:10 AM »
If you are a glutton for punishment, could try to use the Kramers-Kronig relation to get the absorption from the transmission spectrum. But something tells me there is not enuf detail in the manufacturers specs.

sidd

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 04:17:36 PM »
I imagine one aspect of tiny plastic particles in (Arctic) ice is its prism qualities, a robbing Peter to pay Paul sort of thing, where energy is focused (basically, on a molecular level, as the plastic particles are tiny).  But this is physics beyond my ken.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 08:30:03 PM »
  But this is physics beyond my ken.
I have wondered about this to a degree.  However, looking at ponds with some plastic pollution even around very small pieces of plastic melt zones appear before the rest of the ice has melted. 

The lack of information about this topic puzzles me.  Right now I am only able to offer a guess or possibly an educated guess. I'll keep looking.

However:
1. Many particles of foreign material appear to develop melt zones around them in above freezing temperatures or in sunlight.  There are exceptions.  In a forested area a broken branch laying on snow provides shade and slows melt.
2.  Plastics in general absorb IR. Dark colored plastics absorb sunlight directly similar to soot on the ice. 
3. There are many particles of plastic in Arctic Ice.  12,000 particles per liter works out to 12 particles per cc or per ml.  In my estimation that is not a good thing.

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 08:32:21 PM »
For your reading pleasure:

Plastic trash rides ocean currents to the Arctic
Scientists track tiny pieces of trash at the top of the world

https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/plastic-trash-rides-ocean-currents-arctic

nanning

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2019, 08:38:45 AM »
@VaughAn
Quote
Many particles of foreign material appear to develop melt zones around them
Do you have pictures of this? Either in a test-setup or in situ? I'm curious about the differences to grains of sand or soot.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2019, 02:40:09 AM »
It appears that there has not been too much research into thermal effects of microplastics on seawater and sea ice.  There is more plastic in the ocean than I thought possible though.  It's scary.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/06/140613-ocean-trash-garbage-patch-plastic-science-kerry-marine-debris/

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2019, 02:49:28 AM »
this article explains where the heavies concentrations of microplastics have been found in the Arctic:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/19/15358950/plastics-arctic-ocean-microplastics-polar-ice-caps-birds-animals

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2019, 02:55:38 AM »
@VaughAn
Quote
Many particles of foreign material appear to develop melt zones around them
Do you have pictures of this? Either in a test-setup or in situ? I'm curious about the differences to grains of sand or soot.

I'm not having much luck finding photos...yet.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2019, 03:54:01 AM »
The Arctic Ocean Is Becoming A ‘Dead End’ For Your Trash
Huffington Post - 04/20/2017
Article includes pictures, but a caption includes "The Arctic Ocean is accumulating a high concentration of plastic, broken down over time into smaller bits called microplastics — such as those pictured here. " In other words, these pictures are not from the Arctic.

From plasticoceanpollution.weebly.com


Quote
Plastic Soup
Unlike every other ocean, the Arctic Ocean has no trash vortexes. Surveys of the area have found over 300 billion pieces of plastic and micro plastics (Meyer). The Arctic does not have a garbage patch, "it is [a] giant trash patch" (Meyer).

The Arctic has the same median density of plastic pollution as other oceans, but has spread evenly throughout the ocean. Also, most of the plastic in the Arctic is in the form of micro plastics, which means they have been breaking down in the ocean for years. It can be concluded that the pollution of the Arctic has been brought by currents from other oceans such as the Pacific and Indian (Meyer).
Indian Ocean plastic in the Arctic?  What, carried by yak over the Himalayas, and then some???

More pictures at the weebly site
« Last Edit: July 02, 2019, 05:16:17 PM by Tor Bejnar »
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2019, 05:20:12 AM »
The Arctic Ocean as a dead end for floating plastics in the North Atlantic branch of the Thermohaline Circulation
Andrés Cózar, et al. - Science Advances  19 Apr 2017
Quote
Abstract
The subtropical ocean gyres are recognized as great marine accummulation zones of floating plastic debris; however, the possibility of plastic accumulation at polar latitudes has been overlooked because of the lack of nearby pollution sources. In the present study, the Arctic Ocean was extensively sampled for floating plastic debris from the Tara Oceans circumpolar expedition. Although plastic debris was scarce or absent in most of the Arctic waters, it reached high concentrations (hundreds of thousands of pieces per square kilometer) in the northernmost and easternmost areas of the Greenland and Barents seas. The fragmentation and typology of the plastic suggested an abundant presence of aged debris that originated from distant sources. This hypothesis was corroborated by the relatively high ratios of marine surface plastic to local pollution sources. Surface circulation models and field data showed that the poleward branch of the Thermohaline Circulation transfers floating debris from the North Atlantic to the Greenland and Barents seas, which would be a dead end for this plastic conveyor belt. Given the limited surface transport of the plastic that accumulated here and the mechanisms acting for the downward transport, the seafloor beneath this Arctic sector is hypothesized as an important sink of plastic debris.
Images (below) from the on-line PDF of Supplementary Materials
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2019, 05:46:58 PM »
Well, you are probably affected by microplastics...you're eating a spoonful a week:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-12/microplastic-study-reveals-global-ingestion-rates/11199498?pfmredir=sm
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2019, 07:09:17 AM »
Well, you are probably affected by microplastics...you're eating a spoonful a week:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-12/microplastic-study-reveals-global-ingestion-rates/11199498?pfmredir=sm

The photos i have looked at while researching this topic are truly sickening.  I have come to think that plastic pollution is nearly a large of a problem as the Melting of Arctic Ice.  It appears most of the Arctic Plastic is in the Barents Sea while much or the rest of the Arctic is largely spared but not completely so.  I have seen some indications that the plastic in ocean water does indeed trap some heat there but nothing definitive and only sparse data.(Still looking).  In the mean time:


https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/photos-plastic-pollution-caribbean-sea/

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2019, 07:15:24 AM »
Sir David Attenborough has had an affect on plastic pollution in his "Blue Planet
II" series.
https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/attenborough-effect-plastics/

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2019, 06:21:08 AM »
Hat tip to D-Penguin on the Arctic Sea Ice Blog:

https://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2019/06/june-2019-one-hell-of-a-month.html?cid=6a0133f03a1e37970b0240a494fe51200d#comment-6a0133f03a1e37970b0240a494fe51200d

There are numerous articles here about plastic pollution in the oceans; it is nothing short of a horrible ongoing disaster.  It is certainly related to climate change because it is largely made by using fossil fuels and adds to the plague of human caused climate heating. 

https://news.sky.com/story/ive-filmed-plastic-in-the-oceans-its-horrific-for-sealife-11538176

Renerpho

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2019, 08:15:03 PM »
This paper is making news today.

White and wonderful? Microplastics prevail in snow from the Alps to the Arctic

Microplastics have been found in snow all the way to the Arctic, suggesting that they are much more widespread than previously thought, and that some of the ways how they are transported are still not well understood (i.e., microplastics must be airborne to make it into those places).

Open access full paper:
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/8/eaax1157.full

Summary:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-08/aaft-mia081219.php

Quote from: Eurekalert
The high amounts of microplastics in snow, as reported here, suggest that atmospheric transport and deposition could represent a significant pathway for these materials to places far afield
Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused. But on a higher level.

be cause

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2019, 09:46:30 PM »
indeed .. today's bbc news of Greta setting sail to the Americas was followed by news of 10'000 particles of plastic per dissolved litre of 'pristine' Arctic snow . Lots of rubber and other unwelcome compounds too .. b.c.
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 ...

nanning

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2019, 04:53:12 AM »
A bit off-topic but I like to make the connection between microplastic pollution and people driving their cars around. Your car has more emissions than the nasty toxic gasses and greenhouse gasses.

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microplastics#Car_and_truck_tires

Quote:
Car and truck tires

Wear and tear from tires significantly contributes to the flow of (micro-)plastics into the environment. Estimates of emissions of microplastics to the environment in Denmark are between 5,500 and 14,000 tonnes (6,100 and 15,400 tons) per year. Secondary microplastics (e.g. from car and truck tires or footwear) are more important than primary microplastics by two orders of magnitude. The formation of microplastics from the degradation of larger plastics in the environment is not accounted for in the study.[29]

The estimated per capita emission ranges from 0.23 to 4.7 kg/year, with a global average of 0.81 kg/year. The emissions from car tires (100%) are substantially higher than those of other sources of microplastics, e.g., airplane tires (2%), artificial turf (12–50%), brake wear (8%), and road markings (5%). Emissions and pathways depend on local factors like road type or sewage systems. The relative contribution of tire wear and tear to the total global amount of plastics ending up in our oceans is estimated to be 5–10%. In air, 3–7% of the particulate matter (PM2.5) is estimated to consist of tire wear and tear, indicating that it may contribute to the global health burden of air pollution which has been projected by the World Health Organization (WHO) at 3 million deaths in 2012. The wear and tear also enter our food chain, but further research is needed to assess human health risks.[30]
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2019, 10:07:49 AM »
A bit off-topic but I like to make the connection between microplastic pollution and people driving their cars around. Your car has more emissions than the nasty toxic gasses and greenhouse gasses.

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microplastics#Car_and_truck_tires

Quote:
Car and truck tires

Wear and tear from tires significantly contributes to the flow of (micro-)plastics into the environment. Estimates of emissions of microplastics to the environment in Denmark are between 5,500 and 14,000 tonnes (6,100 and 15,400 tons) per year. Secondary microplastics (e.g. from car and truck tires or footwear) are more important than primary microplastics by two orders of magnitude. The formation of microplastics from the degradation of larger plastics in the environment is not accounted for in the study.[29]

The estimated per capita emission ranges from 0.23 to 4.7 kg/year, with a global average of 0.81 kg/year. The emissions from car tires (100%) are substantially higher than those of other sources of microplastics, e.g., airplane tires (2%), artificial turf (12–50%), brake wear (8%), and road markings (5%). Emissions and pathways depend on local factors like road type or sewage systems. The relative contribution of tire wear and tear to the total global amount of plastics ending up in our oceans is estimated to be 5–10%. In air, 3–7% of the particulate matter (PM2.5) is estimated to consist of tire wear and tear, indicating that it may contribute to the global health burden of air pollution which has been projected by the World Health Organization (WHO) at 3 million deaths in 2012. The wear and tear also enter our food chain, but further research is needed to assess human health risks.[30]
My personal opinion is that microplastics are nearly as looming of a disaster as is human caused climate heating.  Thanks for the link.  I had no idea this was such a problem in snow and water on land.  Similar findings in the US in the Rocky Mountains:
 https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2019-08-14-rocky-mountains-plastics-raining

be cause

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2019, 10:57:41 AM »
it's looking like the face-masks regularly seen in any news reports from the far east should be in automatic use worldwide . Now to suitably attire the bears , birds and the bees against our poisoned world .. b.c.
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 ...

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2019, 06:17:18 PM »
indeed .. today's bbc news of Greta setting sail to the Americas was followed by news of 10'000 particles of plastic per dissolved litre of 'pristine' Arctic snow . Lots of rubber and other unwelcome compounds too .. b.c.

This paper is making news today.

White and wonderful? Microplastics prevail in snow from the Alps to the Arctic

Microplastics have been found in snow all the way to the Arctic, suggesting that they are much more widespread than previously thought, and that some of the ways how they are transported are still not well understood (i.e., microplastics must be airborne to make it into those places).

Open access full paper:
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/8/eaax1157.full

Summary:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-08/aaft-mia081219.php

Quote from: Eurekalert
The high amounts of microplastics in snow, as reported here, suggest that atmospheric transport and deposition could represent a significant pathway for these materials to places far afield

I'm part way through reading this paper.  One thing that keeps coming up is "lack of studies about..."  Geez, this crap is way nastier than I realized. 

There didn't seem to be anything mentioned about change in albedo and heat retention changes caused by this stuff.  Per my personal observation of pieces of plastic and garbage in ice and snow causing enhanced melting near this garbage, I would certainly think this stuff would enhance melting of ice and snow and heat retention in water.  Granted, the particles are small and any one particle would have a miniscule effect, however there are such a pervasive number of these particles I can imagine that the total effect could be significant.  Tor stated upthread that reflectivity could be greater so the total effect on heat absorption and retention is a question mark.  Naturally there appears to be a "lack of information..."

Renerpho

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2019, 06:40:05 PM »
Naturally there appears to be a "lack of information..."

They call this the "information age", because it's the first time in history that the lack of information is so apparent that it can't be ignored any longer.

We understood the world much better a hundred years ago than we do today, and that's not just because the world is changing. There are so many issues we were blissfully unaware of. I am just worried that advancements in technology lead to either a false sense of security (as it has in the past), or a loss of trust in science. (Let's face it, scientists get more clueless the more they know.) Or both.
Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused. But on a higher level.

Stephan

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2019, 10:10:13 PM »

I'm part way through reading this paper.  One thing that keeps coming up is "lack of studies about..."  Geez, this crap is way nastier than I realized. 

Shouldn't be this a reason for (a lot of) studies about this topic?
for example:
¤ Influence of microplastics on albedo
¤ Influence of microplastic on local melting of snow and ice
¤ Influence of microplastic on freezing point changes of sea water
¤ Influence of microplastic in the air on condensation and precipitation patterns
¤ Influence of the type of microplastic (size, colour, chemical composition, particle shape ...) on all these questions mentioned above
¤ ...
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 10:28:29 PM by Stephan »

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2019, 07:11:08 PM »
The Independent:  Almost every country in the world agrees deal to cut plastic pollution – except US

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-waste-pollution-un-agreement-us-basel-convention-a8909186.html?fbclid=IwAR2Bc2HkMTb_qIkUTvqOh6r9mXfZhbwRv8yRBjxQGPAwyIoFsYf1BDBL4M0

It makes no sense that the US doesn't support this agreement.  We only need to look to the top to see why though.  I am hoping that this agreement makes a difference.

Aleph_Null

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2019, 11:16:47 AM »
¤ Influence of microplastic in the air on condensation and precipitation patterns

This effect alone seems potentially huge. The folks investigating clouds have enough problems without a monkey-wrench to condensation complicating matters.

It gets complicated in a hurry, if one's goal is to assess the total melting augmentation from microplastics, with so many effects to summarize. Grand kudos (I am so not worthy) to VaughnAn for bringing this forward, and to Neven for hosting this vital forum. In my very humble opinion, this question is one of the most important scientific inquiries I've ever seen, right here on ASIF!

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2019, 08:25:23 PM »
¤ Influence of microplastic in the air on condensation and precipitation patterns

This effect alone seems potentially huge. The folks investigating clouds have enough problems without a monkey-wrench to condensation complicating matters.

It gets complicated in a hurry, if one's goal is to assess the total melting augmentation from microplastics, with so many effects to summarize. Grand kudos (I am so not worthy) to VaughnAn for bringing this forward, and to Neven for hosting this vital forum. In my very humble opinion, this question is one of the most important scientific inquiries I've ever seen, right here on ASIF!

Interestingly, after I first introduced this topic on Neven's blog I have seen at least a one order of magnitude uptick in information published in various news sources.  I like to think that there are a number of investigative reporters who read this blog to get ideas for new ways of looking at what is really happening.  At least I like to think so. :o :-\  I have seen other ideas introduced on this blog, previously, in various threads that have lead to an explosion of new information from other sources.  Maybe not too far fetched?

The amount of microplastics in the air and on land based snow and ice, previous to being published here, was something that I didn't even know that I didn't even know that I didn't know.  ???

binntho

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2019, 09:08:46 PM »
I'e noticed the same thing, the journalists read this forum, no question.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
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VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2019, 08:00:42 AM »
Cross posted from "The Northwest Passage" thread: 

A Northwest Passage Journey Finds Little Ice and Big Changes
https://e360.yale.edu/features/a-northwest-passage-journey-finds-little-ice-and-big-changes
Quote
After decades of travel in the Far North, E360’s Arctic correspondent joins a voyage through the Northwest Passage and witnesses a world being transformed, with ice disappearing, balmy temperatures becoming common, and alien invaders – from plastic waste to new diseases – on the rise.

There is a notable mention of plastic waste in this article so I am listing it here too.

IMHO, all of this plastic garbage is a bad if not worse than the melting of the Arctic Ice, it exacerbates the melting by collecting heat from both incoming and outgoing radiation and it making a worsening condition even worse.  Like human caused global heating this disastrous predicament needs full on attention, prevention, and needs to be cleaned up yesterday.

Aleph_Null

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2019, 01:33:39 AM »
More than two weeks, now, since the last post here. Others who would like to contribute are probably also perplexed and fascinated by the melting season that would not stop. (That is kinda important, I suppose.) In this cross-post from comments under a CommonDreams article about the German PFOA study,  I'm sincere in my implicit apology for neglecting this important thread, here, and perhaps it helps keep the thread alive. Please remember this thread, people, it needs your help! I seriously consider approaching the local high school about ice-cube studies!

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/14/german-study-alarming-levels-dangerous-plastics-childrens-bodies

(my comment also goads an old online fried to speak up more, maybe):

Quote
Hi webwalk,

(I don’t see enough of your granite wisdom to lean on around here lately, btw.)

Your disquisition on “research” brings to mind a guilty debt weighing on me: I’ve been desperately scrabbling for some time to conduct more reading into the microplastics mess. Indications mount that ubiquitous microplastics are as serious a contamination of the global ecosphere as CO2 in the atmosphere – and that’s worse than deadly serious.

A quick example of something we don’t know is illuminating. Take pure water, freeze it in tray A. Water suffused with microplastics, freeze it in tray B. Melting under sunlight will vary consistently for any two cubes from trays A and B, I expect, because solar irradiation doesn’t do the same thing to plastic as it does to ice.

Could be a junior high-school science project, right? But we can’t find hardly anything published on this little matter, which probably has something to do with how long the icecap hangs around, because, alas, the icecap is also full of microplastics.

Was I asking why you don’t post more frequently? Sorry, nevermind.

nanning

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2019, 06:04:58 AM »
That would be a very good first test of finding out the melting properties of ice contaminated with microplastics.

How to get pure water?
How to contaminate pure water with a known amount and one specific type and size of microplastics?
How to get a homogenous distribution of microplastics in the ice?

I would advise to do the test not only with warming by insolation, but also with warming the tray or warming a layer of pure water underneath the ice.

edit: and control the colour of the microplastic and use insolation at an angle.
(and introduce clouds ;) )
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 05:43:48 PM by nanning »
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2019, 06:31:27 AM »
That would be a very good first test of finding out the melting properties of ice contaminated with microplastics.

How to get pure water?
How to contaminate pure water with a known amount and one specific type and size of microplastics?
How to get a homogenous distribution of microplastics in the ice?

I would advise to do the test not only with warming by insolation, but also with warming the tray or warming a layer of pure water underneath the ice.

I've been on vacation in the Oregon (USA) wilderness for the past week and did think about microplastics quite a bit. I live in easy reach of a number of glacial runoff streams so I will take some water samples and see what I can find from that in runoff water.

I have a water sample from a glacial stream running from Mt. Adams (Washington State, USA) I took several years ago.  I had no idea about microplastics in glacial water at that time so I will look at it microscopically to see if I can find anything first before I get more samples.  I am thinking about collecting and filtering a few gallons of water to concentrate any microplastics found in the water to get a general idea about the quantity of the microplastics in the runoff water. 

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2019, 08:20:19 PM »
Where Does All the Plastic Go?
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/where-does-all-the-plastic-go
Quote
Every year, an estimated eight million metric tons of land-based plastic enters the world’s oceans. But when marine researchers have measured how much of this plastic is floating on the water’s surface, swirling in offshore gyres—most notably, the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California—they have only found quantities on the order of hundreds of thousands of tons, or roughly one per cent of all the plastic that has ever gone into the ocean. Part of the explanation for this is that all plastic eventually breaks down into microplastic, and, although this takes some polymers decades, others break down almost immediately, or enter the ocean as microplastic already (like the synthetic fibres that pill off your fleece jacket or yoga pants in the washing machine). Scientists have recently found tiny pieces of plastic falling with the rain in the high mountains, including France’s Pyrenees and the Colorado Rockies. British researchers collected amphipods (shrimplike crustaceans) from six of the world’s deepest ocean trenches and found that eighty per cent of them had microplastic in their digestive tracts. These kinds of plastic fibres and fragments are smaller than poppy seeds and “the perfect size to enter the bottom of the food web,” as Jennifer Brandon, an oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told me. “They have been shown to be eaten by mussels, by coral, by sea cucumbers, by barnacles, by lots of filter-feeding plankton.”
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

VaughnAn

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2019, 04:52:39 AM »
Where Does All the Plastic Go?
~~snippage

The more I read and learn about this topic the scarier it becomes:

No Such Place As “Away”: Plastic Pollution in the Oceans, Why We Should Care, and What to Do About It
https://www.interactioncouncil.org/publications/no-such-place-away-plastic-pollution-oceans-why-we-should-care-and-what-do-about-it

"Except for the 12% of plastic that has been incinerated – which usually uses fossil fuels and emits noxious gases – every bit of plastic that has ever been made still exists.[7]  Plastic pollutes the entire water column, from the seafloor to the surface, and is in every ocean and sea, including remote areas far from human habitation.[8]  It is even embedded in Arctic sea ice." 

I continue to maintain that plastic pollution is as great a danger as human caused climate heating and ocean acidity.  The amount of plastic in the ocean will reach a critical point and cause more devastation than will be survivable for much ocean life which humans depend upon for survival.

Tom, you posted a question about what happens to all the plastic in the ocean because not enough appears to have been found.  Maybe it sinks to the bottom.  I looked at this density chart and it appears that lots of different plastics are slightly denser than seawater.  I do not know how much of each type is produced and thrown away every year so this probably is not a good indication of volume.  This does show that many plastics are heavier than the surface density of seawater at 1.024 to 1.028g/cm2.

https://omnexus.specialchem.com/polymer-properties/properties/density

Human Habitat Index

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Re: Sea Ice Melting Affected by Microplastics?
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2019, 05:28:08 AM »
The basic building blocks of plastic are cellulose. Currently, cellulose is primarily obtained from petroleum. However, petroleum-based plastics are harmful to human health. Not to mention destructive to the environment.

Hemp, on the other hand, happens to be an excellent source of cellulose and is sustainable.

7 Ways Hemp Plastic Could Change the World

https://www.green-flower.com/articles/448/7-ways-hemp-plastic-could-change-the-world
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is contempt prior to investigation. - Herbert Spencer