Modelling the transport and accumulation of floating marine debris in the Mediterranean basin

Source: Science Direct

Authors: J. Mansui, , A. Molcard, Y. Ourmières

Abstract

In the era of plastic and global environmental issues, when large garbage patches have been observed in the main oceanic basins, this work is the first attempt to explore the possibility that similar permanent accumulation structures may exist in the Mediterranean Sea. The questions addressed in this work are: can the general circulation, with its sub-basins scale gyres and mesoscale instabilities, foster the concentration of floating items in some regions? Where are the more likely coastal zones impacted from open ocean sources?

Multi-annual simulations of advected surface passive debris depict the Tyrrhenian Sea, the north-western Mediterranean sub-basin and the Gulf of Sirte as possible retention areas. The western Mediterranean coasts present very low coastal impact, while the coastal strip from Tunisia to Syria appears as the favourite destination. No permanent structure able to retain floating items in the long-term were found, as the basin circulation variability brings sufficient anomalies.

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