Plastic Fell Into the Sky. But Where Did You Come From?
These microplastics do not just wash off the surface and accumulate on the shore. When the waves get high and the wind blows across the lake, they throw the water into the water. These obviously contain minerals, as well as natural substances and microplastics. “Then the water evaporates, and you are left with aerosols,” or small floating objects, says Cornell University researcher Natalie Mahowald, who led the project with Brahney. “In the past, we astronomers have known that there is a saltwater that comes in this way,” he continues. But last year, another team of researchers demonstrated this with microplastics, indicating that they are going for a cool breeze.
This time, Mahowald and Brahney decided on a larger scale, using atmospheric shapes to indicate the height of aquatic microplastics after space. He also highlighted other sources of emissions, such as roads, cities, and agricultural fields. He knows, for example, the amount of dust produced from fields and the amount of microplastic that can be present in dust.
The researchers then combined these spacecraft with more real-world objects. Brahney used space samples scattered across the far corners of West America, so at times he could say how many tiny particles had fallen from the sky. Mahowald’s examples can also explain the atmosphere and the weather at that time, allowing researchers to pinpoint the exact location of the fragments.
It was found that agricultural dust only accounts for 5% of Western microplastics in the West. And surprisingly, cities account for only 0.4%. “If you were to ask everyone how plastic gets into the air, they would say it from the cities,” Brahney says. “I like to think of myself as the street exhaustion cities that are very important. ”
As the vehicle sped along the road, the small wheels skipped off their tires as a steady stream. The story is not real rubber; It has a wide range of accessories as well as many other products. Tire is a tiny substance, that is, microplastics, and it is ubiquitous. Another study in 2019 calculated this 7 trillion microplastics bathing to San Francisco Bay every year, especially tires.
Cities emit more microplastic over the road and as a result of broken debris, but they do not seem to rise into the atmosphere. For two reasons, Brahney and Mahowald think: Houses prevent the wind from destroying the city and clearing it, and people drive slowly in urban areas, so the tire that ends on the road is reduced. But head to the central streets and there are plenty of open areas where the wind can wash away the debris. In addition, says Mahowald, “cars travel 60 miles an hour. That’s a lot of energy. And tiny particles can go into space with this power.”