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Airborne Microplastic Detection, Origin, Transport and Global Radiative Impact


The project with the short name "MAGIC" will incorporate advances in atmospheric sampling (e.g., from Global Atmosphere Watch stations, GAW) and detection of microplastics (e.g. long timeseries of measurements) into atmospheric dispersion and inverse modelling algorithms.

This will allow for accurate determination of their atmospheric levels, precise quantification of their sources and reliable constrain of their atmospheric budget.

Important processes affecting the atmospheric dispersion of microplastics will be carefully studied (e.g., turbulence- induced resuspension and oceanic ejection, non-spherical particle modelling) and modelled for the first time.

The obtained knowledge will be used to answer the primary objective of MAGIC for the role of microplastics in the global radiative budget at present and future years.

Our inter-disciplinary team is in a unique position to assess the state of atmospheric microplastic emissions and dynamics and their impact on Earth’s radiative balance. This will enable a targeted approach to investigation and monitoring of atmospheric microplastic signals in atmospheric data and dispersion models.

Primary objective

The primary objective of MAGIC is to investigate sources and sinks of atmospheric microplastics transported to remote regions through the atmosphere and their subsequent climate feedback.

Secondary objectives are to:

  1. Develop FLEXPART model in order to account for non-spherical structures (microfibers).
  2. Develop an inverse modelling algorithm that will be used for source quantification of atmospheric microplastics.
  3. Identify source origin of atmospheric microplastics deposited in snow and ice in high northern latitudes.
  4. Develop and ingest a module into FLEXPART for the resuspension of atmospheric microplastics (grasshopper effect, large-eddy simulations).
  5. Create protocols of standard operating procedures for sampling of atmospheric microplastics in PM10.
  6. Develop an analytical determination methodology for atmospheric microplastics (TED-MS, TD-PTR-MS).
  7. Define the climatic role/impact of atmospheric microplastics at present and future times (radiative transfer modelling).