Erik van Sebille
Professor in Oceanography and Public Engagement
Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research,
Utrecht University, Netherlands

"Whose plastic is that? Combining virtual particle simulations with Bayesian inference to attribute macroplastic sources and sinks"

Nov 16, 2022, Schedule:

Nespresso & Teatime 417 DSL - Commons
03:00 to 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Colloquium - F2F  499 DSL / Virtual Zoom
03:30 to 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting # 942 7359 5552


The world's ocean currents can potentially transport material like plastic over vast scales, connecting sources on one continent to impacts on another. On the other hand, it had recently become clear that most plastics found at any particular location are relatively local, often originating from within the same country. Effective policies to reduce the impact of plastic pollution require knowledge of whose plastic ends up where.

In this seminar, I will present some recent work on using a Bayesian framework to analyze the sources of plastics found on beaches around the world. The input to this analysis comes from Lagrangian ocean analysis simulations with the tool, which I will also showcase. I will particularly highlight results from the Indian Ocean, the Galapagos, the South Atlantic and the North Sea.

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