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ESA testing detection of floating plastic litter from orbit

19 March 2018

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The millions of tonnes of plastic ending up in the oceans every year are a global challenge. ESA is responding by looking at the detection of marine plastic litter from space, potentially charting its highest concentrations and understanding the gigantic scale of the problem.

We dump around 10 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans annually. Though most conspicuous along coastlines, plastic litter is also found out in the open ocean and from the equator to the pole – even frozen in polar ice.

Gradually broken down into micro-fragments by weathering and waves, it is not only endangering marine animals but it is also entering the global food chain, with unknown long-term consequences for animal life and our own health.

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Antarctica hikes up sea level

14 June 2018

In a major collaborative effort, scientists from around the world have used information from satellites to reveal that ice melting in Antarctica has not only raised sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, but, critically, almost half of this rise has occurred in the last five years.

Antarctica hikes sea level rise

This information is key to understanding how climate change is affecting the most remote part of the planet and how this has consequences for the rest of the world.