January 2023, Article in peer-reviewed journal
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering

Bruno Sainte-Rose, Yannick Pham and Wayne Pavalko

  • Publication type: Article in peer-reviewed journal
  • Publication journal: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
  • DOI: 10.3390/jmse11010068
  • Collaborators: The Ocean Cleanup (NL), WRG LLC (USA)
  • Publication date: 2 January 2023


The accumulation of plastic debris on land and coastlines and in waterways and garbage patches is one of the greatest ecological concerns of the 21st century. In that context, the sources and pathways of plastic marine debris (PMD) have been increasingly studied in the past ten years. The purpose of this communication was to analyze, thanks to the tracks of two drifting buoys released in May–June 2019 in the North-East Pacific, two features encountered within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP): a surface convergence, which could lead to the formation of plastic hotspots, and the persistency of the floating material in this area of the ocean. The evolution of the distance between the buoys was compared with the local circulation field divergence, a Lagrangian plastic dispersal model and sea-level anomalies (SLAs). These analyses highlighted the link between the converging behavior of the drifters and a persistent negative velocity divergence as well as a higher than average-encountered modelled plastic surface density (MPSD). The persistence of the material within the GPGP was observed thanks to the trajectory of the longest persisting drifter in comparison with the trajectory of the GPGP center and extent.

  • Circulation modeling, Drifters, Lagrangian particle tracking, Marine debris
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