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

Garaba, Shungudzemwoyo P.; Dierssen, Heidi M.

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 monitoring strategy that might have future applications in the operational detection and tracking of plastic litter at repeated intervals covering wide geospatial areas. We therefore present a dataset of Lambertian-equivalent spectral reflectance measurements from the ultraviolet (UV, 350 nm) to shortwave infrared (SWIR, 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 oceans, suggesting a near representation of plastic litter in global oceans. We determined a representative bulk average spectral reflectance for the dry marine-harvested microplastics dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/jyxq-1m66https://doi.org/10.21232/jyxq-1m66 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2019c). Similar absorption features were identified in the dry samples of washed-ashore plastics: dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/ex5j-0z25https://doi.org/10.21232/ex5j-0z25 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2019a). The virgin pellets samples consisted of 11 polymer types typically found in floating aquatic plastic litter: dataset available at https://doi.org/10.21232/C27H34https://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-yv83https://doi.org/10.21232/r7gg-yv83 (Garaba and Dierssen, 2019b). Reflectance of wet marine-harvested microplastics was noted to be lower in magnitude but had similar spectral shape to that of dry marine-harvested microplastics. Diagnostic absorption features common in the marine-harvested microplastics and washed-ashore plastics were identified at inline-formula∼931, 1215, 1417 and 1732 nm. In addition, we include metrics for a subset of the marine-harvested microplastics related to particle morphology, including sphericity and roundness. These datasets are also expected to improve and expand the scientific evidence-based knowledge of optical characteristics of common plastics found in aquatic litter. Furthermore, these datasets have potential use in radiative transfer simulations exploring the effects of plastics on ocean colour remote sensing and developing algorithms applicable to remote detection of floating plastic litter.



Garaba, Shungudzemwoyo P. / Dierssen, Heidi M.: Hyperspectral ultraviolet to shortwave infrared characteristics of marine-harvested, washed-ashore and virgin plastics. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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