School Email Exchange

How does the weather affect the amount of plastic you find?

Posted on November 08 2012

Question submitted by George Washington Elementary School

The wind is the biggest factor that determines the amount of plastic we collect in our plankton nets at the sea surface.  We collect more plastic after a time of no wind or low winds and calm seas.  When the wind blows consistently in one direction for some length of time, windrows may be set up which causes plastic, and anything else floating at the sea surface, to accumulate in a visible line at the surface.  The highest concentrations of plastic we found were from samples collected in windrows.