CYGNSS microplastic data

CYGNSS mission microplastic concentration dataset now available to the public

Researchers can access data for use in ocean-borne microplastic monitoring and collection.


The Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC), operated by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), has announced the public release of the CYGNSS (Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System) version 1.0 level 3 ocean microplastic concentration data record.

Earlier this year, CYGNSS mission principal investigator Prof. Chris Ruf and his team identified a new way to use the CYGNSS satellites in spotting ocean microplastics across the globe, tracking their origins and where they tend to collect. The approach can give a global view or zoom in on small areas for a high-resolution picture of microplastic releases from a single location. The technique is a major improvement over current tracking methods.

“We are extremely excited to be able to share our new ocean microplastic measurements broadly through this data release,” said Prof Ruf. “They indicate seasonal variations in microplastic concentration in the major ocean gyres, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that were previously unknown. That and other dynamic behavior are revealed in the data which should be of considerable interest to the research community working on numerical modeling of the microplastic distribution, as well as to ongoing cleanup operations.”

The CYGNSS V1.0 ocean microplastic concentration data are intended for users with an interest in microplastic collection or monitoring. Detection of plastics from remote sensing is an active area of research.

PO.DAAC is a NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data center managed by the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project, and operated by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

From the PO.DAAC site:
”The mission of the PO.DAAC is to preserve NASA’s ocean and climate data and make these universally accessible and meaningful. Since the launch of NASA’s first ocean-observing satellite, Seasat, in 1978, PO.DAAC has become the premier data center for measurements focused on sea surface topography, ocean temperature, ocean winds, salinity, gravity, and ocean circulation.”

To access the CYGNSS microplastic concentration dataset, visit the PO.DAAC site: