Tidsskrift: Nature Communications, vol. 14, 3707, 2023
Few studies report the occurrence of microplastics (MP), including tire wear particles (TWP) in the marine atmosphere, and little data is available regarding their size or sources. Here we present active air sampling devices (low- and high-volume samplers) for the evaluation of composition and MP mass loads in the marine atmosphere. Air was sampled during a research cruise along the Norwegian coast up to Bear Island. Samples were analyzed with pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, generating a mass-based data set for MP in the marine atmosphere. Here we show the ubiquity of MP, even in remote Arctic areas with concentrations up to 37.5 ng m−3. Cluster of polyethylene terephthalate (max. 1.5 ng m−3) were universally present. TWP (max. 35 ng m−3) and cluster of polystyrene, polypropylene, and polyurethane (max. 1.1 ng m−3) were also detected. Atmospheric transport and dispersion models, suggested the introduction of MP into the marine atmosphere equally from sea- and land-based emissions, transforming the ocean from a sink into a source for MP.