Model output datasets for: Constraining the atmospheric limb of the plastic cycle
Brahney, Janice; Mahowald, Natalie; Prank, Marje; Cornwell, Gavin; Klimont, Zbigniew; Matsui, Hitoshi; Prather, Kim
Microplastic particles and fibers generated from the breakdown of mismanaged waste are now so prevalent that they cycle through the Earth in a manner akin to global biogeochemical cycles. In modeling the atmospheric limb of the plastic cycle, we show that most atmospheric plastics are derived from the legacy production of plastics from waste that has continued to build up in the environment. Roads dominated the sources of microplastics to the western U.S., followed by marine, agriculture, and dust emissions generated downwind of population centers. At the current rate of increase of plastic production (~4% per year), understanding the sources and consequences of microplastics in the atmosphere should be a priority.
The research was supported by Agricultural Experimental Station Research Grants UTA01421, UTA01384, NSF 1926559, and a USDA Forest Service Agreement to JB. NMM and MP would like to acknowledge support from Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and National Science Foundation’s National Center for Atmospheric Research Computing facilities (100) and was supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 322532) H.M. was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Tech nology and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (MEXT/JSPS) KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP17H04709 and JP19H05699, by the MEXT Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) and ArCS-II projects, and by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (2–1703 and 2-2003) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency. We would like to thank Sagar Rathod for assistance to NM.
atmospheric microplastics; aerosols
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