A new method is presented for detecting and imaging the global distribution of ocean microplastics from space. The method uses spaceborne bistatic radar measurements of ocean surface roughness and relies on an assumed reduction in responsiveness to wind-driven roughening caused by surfactants that act as tracers for microplastics near the surface. Annual mean microplastic distributions estimated by the radars are generally consistent with model predictions. The spaceborne observations are also able to detect temporal changes that are not resolved by the models.
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