EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Macroplastics Pollution in the Southern North Sea – Sources, Pathways and Abatement Strategies

Jörg-Olaf Wolff1, Florian Hahner1, Jens Meyerjürgens1, Marcel Ricker1, Rosanna Isabel Schöneich-Argent1, Thomas Badewien1, Karsten Alexander Lettmann1, Peter Schaal2, Holger Freund1, Ingo Mose2, Emil Stanev1, and Oliver Zielinski1
Jörg-Olaf Wolff et al.
  • 1ICBM, University Oldenburg Oldenburg, Germany
  • 2IBU, University Oldenburg Oldenburg, Germany

Since 2016, an interdisciplinary consortium at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg has been funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture in order to provide solid, scientific knowledge of the sources, pathways and accumulation zones of plastic litter. This team consists of physical oceanographers, geoecologists, biologists and environmental planners.

Using simple wooden drifters, GPS-drifters and high resolution, numerical modelling, the consortium studied the dispersal of floating macroplastics (i.e. visible plastic fragments and objects) and accumulation areas within the German Bight and the Wadden Sea. Furthermore, coastal sensors and observation systems were employed to gather data of hydrodynamic parameters. In addition, the general public has actively participated in the collection of litter data via a web-based registration system for reporting the findings of wooden drifters.

In this presentation we will highlight some of the most important results of the project amongst them the surprising observation of a complete reversal of the circulation in the southern North Sea in March 2018, supported by drifter reports from citizen scientists from Britain. We will also shortly shed light on the heavy workload involved with presentations to the public (Radio, TV, print media, presentations to various stakeholder groups) which future projects should anticipate already at the planning stage.

How to cite: Wolff, J.-O., Hahner, F., Meyerjürgens, J., Ricker, M., Schöneich-Argent, R. I., Badewien, T., Lettmann, K. A., Schaal, P., Freund, H., Mose, I., Stanev, E., and Zielinski, O.: Macroplastics Pollution in the Southern North Sea – Sources, Pathways and Abatement Strategies, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10456,, 2020


Display file

Comments on the display

AC: Author Comment | CC: Community Comment | Report abuse

displays version 1 – uploaded on 03 May 2020, no comments