Satellites Can Spy on Microplastics, Researchers ShowPosted on July 14, 2021 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
We’d been taking these radar measurements of surface roughness and using them to measure wind speed, and we knew that the presence of stuff in the water alters its responsiveness to the environment,” said Ruf, who reported his findings in a paper titled “Toward the Detection and Imaging of Ocean Microplastics With a Spaceborne Radar,” published in June by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). “So I got the idea of doing the whole thing backward, using changes in responsiveness to predict the presence of stuff in the water.”
Surface roughness isn’t caused by microplastics themselves, however. Rather, it’s caused by surfactants, which are oily or soapy compounds that lower the tension on a liquid’s surface and often accompany microplastics in the ocean.