GEOMAR Helmholtz Center Microplastics at 27.5 Million tons Travelling in Air for Ocean Research in Kiel, together with scientists from various German institutions, warns that microplastics could significantly increase global warming in the coming years.

The joint research program reveals that up to 27.5 million tons of microplastics are carried to different parts of the world every year. According to the studies, wind carries the particles through ocean air, fog, sea spray, and snow at a faster rate than water.

Researchers explain the impact of wind-borne microplastics on surface climate and the health of local ecosystems citing the dark microplastics that cover snow and ice. The increasing amount of microplastic reduces the solar reflectance of snow, leading to an increased rate of melting.

Another aspect that scientists are studying is the behavior of microplastics as condensation cores for water vapor, which affects cloud formation and, ultimately, the climate.For the 33-member research team, it is essential to issue a warning as plastic pollution is expected to reach 88 million tons per year by 2040. The team stressed that in addition to the air and water, plastic particles are currently detected in the soil.

Recent reports note that microplastics are traveling through ocean currents, rivers, and even via marine life. The tiny plastic particles reach the depths of the oceans, including the Arctic and Antarctic.Biologist and co-author of the study, D. Melanie Bergmann of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven, explains that air is more dynamic than water as a transport medium for microplastics.

Bergmann, who researches microplastics and marine litter, adds that this property of air allows microplastics and nanoplastics to rapidly penetrate even the most remote regions of the planet. The researcher calls for the inclusion of microplastics and nanoplastics in air pollution calculations.

The study’s lead author, Deonie Allen, began sampling microplastics in the air, seawater, and snow with Bergmann during their 2021 Arctic expedition to work towards establishing records of air pollution measurements. The researcher also cites another study that reveals that 11 out of 13 people live with microplastics in their lungs, putting further emphasis on the importance of quality monitoring programs.

Along with other experts, Bermann wrote a letter calling for plastic production to be reduced as part of an international agreement. The group’s goal is to promote a reduction in the amount of plastic entering the environment. The study’s co-author, Dr. Tim Butler, a professor and head of a research group at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), points out that there is more to study, including many aspects of emissions, transport, and the impact of microplastics in the atmosphere.

The European Chemicals Agency and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) define microplastics as fragments of any type of plastic less than five millimeters, or 0.20 inches, in length. Microplastics not only impact the climate and promote melting snow and ice, but are also often mistaken for food by birds and aquatic life, posing a threat to the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Source: this news is originally published by natureworldnews

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