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Microplastics in the atmosphere and cryosphere in the circumpolar North: a case for multicompartment monitoring

Hamilton, Bonnie M.; Jantunen, Liisa; Bergmann, Melanie; Vorkamp, Katrin; Aherne, Julian; Magnusson, Kerstin; Herzke, Dorte; Granberg, Maria; Hallanger, Ingeborg G.; Gomiero, Alessio; Peeken, Ilka


Tidsskrift: Arctic Science, 2022

Doi: doi.org/10.1139/as-2021-0054

The atmosphere and cryosphere have recently garnered considerable attention due to their role in transporting microplastics to and within the Arctic, and between freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments. While investigating either in isolation provides valuable insight on the fate of microplastics in the Arctic, monitoring both provides a more holistic view. Nonetheless, despite the recent scientific interest, fundamental knowledge on microplastic abundance and consistent monitoring efforts are lacking for these compartments. Here, we build upon the work of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme's Monitoring Guidelines for Litter and Microplastic to provide a roadmap for multicompartment monitoring of the atmosphere and cryosphere to support our understanding of the sources, pathways, and sinks of plastic pollution across the Arctic. Overall, we recommend the use of existing standard techniques for ice and atmospheric sampling and to build upon existing monitoring efforts in the Arctic to obtain a more comprehensive pan-Arctic view of microplastic pollution in these two compartments.