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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-134
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-134
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 19 Aug 2019

Submitted as: data description paper | 19 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Hyperspectral ultraviolet to shortwave infrared characteristics of marine-harvested, washed ashore and virgin plastics

Shungudzemwoyo P. Garaba1 and Heidi M. Dierssen2,3 Shungudzemwoyo P. Garaba and Heidi M. Dierssen
  • 1Marine Sensor Systems Group, Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Schleusenstraße 1, Wilhelmshaven 26382, Germany
  • 2Department of Marine Sciences, Avery Point Campus, University of Connecticut, 1080 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT 06340, USA
  • 3Institute of Material Science, Storrs Campus, University of Connecticut, 97 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3136, USA

Abstract. Combating the imminent environmental problems associated with plastic litter requires a synergy of monitoring strategies, clean-up efforts, policymaking and interdisciplinary scientific research. Lately, remote sensing technologies have been evolving into a complementary environmental monitoring approach that might have future applications in the operational detection and tracking of plastic litter at repeated intervals covering wide geo-spatial areas. We therefore present a dataset of spectral reflectance measurements from the ultraviolet (350 nm) to shortwave infrared (2500 nm) of synthetic hydrocarbons (plastics). Spectral reflectance of wet and dry marine-harvested, washed ashore and virgin plastics was measured outdoors with a hyperspectral spectroradiometer. Samples were harvested from the major accumulation zones in the Atlantic and Pacific ocean suggesting a near representation of plastic litter in global oceans. We determined a representative bulk average spectral reflectance for the dry marine-harvested microplastics and identified common absorption features at ~ 931, 1215, 1417 and 1732 nm, dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/jyxq-1m66 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2019a). Similar absorption features were identified in the dry samples of washed ashore plastics, dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/ex5j-0z25 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2019b). The virgin pellets samples consisted of eleven polymer types typically found in floating aquatic plastic litter, dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/C27H34 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2017). Magnitude and shape features of the spectral reflectance collected were also evaluated for two scenarios involving dry and wet marine-harvested microplastics, dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/r7gg-yv83 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2019c). Reflectance of wet marine-harvested microplastics was noted to be lower in magnitude but had similar spectral shape to the one of dry marine-harvested microplastics. In addition, we include metrics for microplastic particle morphology including sphericity and roundness. These open-access datasets will be useful in radiative transfer analyses exploring the effect of plastics to ocean colour remote sensing and developing algorithms applicable to remote detection of floating plastic litter. The dataset is expected to improve and expand the scientific evidence-based knowledge on optical characteristics of common plastics found in aquatic litter.

Shungudzemwoyo P. Garaba and Heidi M. Dierssen
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 22 Oct 2019)
Status: open (until 22 Oct 2019)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Shungudzemwoyo P. Garaba and Heidi M. Dierssen
Data sets

Spectral reflectance of dry marine-harvested microplastics from North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, Ecological Spectral Information System (EcoSIS) S. P. Garaba and H. M. Dierssen https://doi.org/10.21232/jyxq-1m66

Spectral reflectance of washed ashore macroplastics, Ecological Spectral Information System (EcoSIS) S. P. Garaba and H. M. Dierssen https://doi.org/10.21232/ex5j-0z25

Spectral reflectance of dry and wet marine-harvested microplastics from Kamilo Point, Pacific Ocean, Ecological Spectral Information System (EcoSIS) S. P. Garaba and H. M. Dierssen https://doi.org/10.21232/r7gg-yv83

Spectral reference library of 11 types of virgin plastic pellets common in marine plastic debris, Ecological Spectral Information System (EcoSIS) S. P. Garaba and H. M. Dierssen https://doi.org/10.21232/C27H34

Shungudzemwoyo P. Garaba and Heidi M. Dierssen
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