Details of Microplastic Measurement Journey around the World from the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018 Turn the Tide on Plastic and AkzoNobel by GEOMAR Kiel


Dataset identification

Title of datasetMicroplastic Measurement Journey around the World from the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018 Turn the Tide on Plastic and AkzoNobel by GEOMAR Kiel
Narrative summary of datasetThe provided unique microplastic data was generated from the Leg 0,1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18. The samples were collected onboard "Turn the Tide on Plastic" (all Legs) and team "AkzoNobel" (Leg 7 and 9 till 11). The extraction of the stainless-steel filter cakes was performed in reference to Lenz et al. 2015 with ultrasonication. The solutions were measured with a microfluidic flow capillary Raman spectrometer in reflection mode and further analysed with holography. The data variables include GPS position, time, filter volume [L], measured microplastic concentration [particles/m³], error of microplastic concentration [particles/m³], Leg Number and yacht (1 = Turn the Tide on Plastic, 2 = AkzoNobel). Related in-situ oceanographic measurements are uploaded to the NOAA NCEI S2N database (NCEI Accession 0170967). The instrument used for underway measurements was the specially built OceanPack RACE manufactured by SubCtech GmbH in Kiel. The connected microplastic filtration unit and lab analysis prototype for microplastic (Raman) was built by bbe Moldaenke. The mixed-layer surface water (~1.5 m depending on the heel of the yachts) was sampled in the Mediterranean Sea, the North and South Atlantic Ocean, South Indian Ocean, West and South Pacific Ocean and others from 2017-10-22 to 2018-07-07. Measurements were performed by GEOMAR and acknowledgements go to the Cluster of Excellence Future Ocean (Funding for the Project and Position of Dr.-Ing. Sören B. Gutekunst), Volvo Cars, teams Turn the Tide on Plastic/AkzoNobel, the Volvo Ocean Race sustainability programme, bbe Moldaenke GmbH and SubCtech GmbH. Leg overview and yacht samples: Leg 0: Lisbon to Alicante/Spain TTOP Leg 1: Alicante to Lisbon/Portugal TTOP Leg 2: Lisbon to Cape Town/South Africa TTOP Leg 3: Cape Town to Melbourne/Australia TTOP Leg 4: Melbourne to Hong Kong/China TTOP Leg 5: not sampled - Leg 6: Hong Kong to Auckland/New Zealand TTOP Leg 7: Auckland to Itajaí/Brazil TTOP & AN Leg 8: Itajaí to Newport/U.S.A. TTOP Leg 9: Newport to Cardiff/U.K. TTOP & AN Leg 10: Cardiff to Gothenburg/Sweden TTOP & AN Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague/Netherlands TTOP & AN Leg 12: The Hague to Lisbon/Portugal TTOP In addition to the Marine Litter data also weather observations were collected and these are available from:
Summary of processing methodologyThe prototype made especially for these race yachts was designed by SubCtech and bbe Moldaenke. It is a new combination of microfluidics, Raman and Holography. The provided samples from the sailing teams (Boats Captain: Liz Wardley Turn the Tide on Plastic and Nicolai Sehested AkzoNobel) were put into aluminium bags and brought back to the Lab in Kiel after each maintenance and cleaning of the systems in every stop-over. The extraction from these stainless-steel filters was performed close to the published method by Lenz et al. 2015 by ultrasonication. The sample was then characterized non-destructive under flow in a capillary with reflection mode Raman, where the samples flow was provided by a peristaltic pump through the capillary. The green 532 nm Laser was focussed to the full width of the capillary (2 mm) to measure all particles flow through this chamber. These measurements resulted in more than 30000 spectra per sample and measurement times of ~40 min. A fit algorithm of the water signal helped to find events around 630 nm, which are characteristic to microplastic particles. These events were compared to reference measured bought polymer particles for characterization and possibly consist of PE, PP, PS, PET, PC, PVC, PA and EVA. For error analysis a recovery-rate above 92 % was observed, when measuring a reference sample six times in a row with counted polymer particles. In addition, the filter volume connected statistical error of the sampling itself resulted in the given overall error in microplastic concentration. The provided data excepts the Holography data as the two-chamber system, which was used, has to be further developed, as the finding rate and direct correlation to the previous obtained Raman spectra of the microplastic particle is too uncertain at the moment with a delay of Raman to Holography measurement of ~3 to 6 seconds.
Supporting documentationMap of the microplastic measurement
Results from AkzoNobel
Results from Turn the Tide on Plastic
Project/programmeOceanographic Observations from Ocean Race Yachts CP1756 / Cluster of Excellence Future Ocean
Start date2017-10-22
End date2018-07-07

Responsible organisations

Organisation nameHelmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Role of organisationOriginator of Dataset

Dataset availability

Original dataset download link
Date of original dataset publication2018-12-20
Dataset formatDocuments
Public accessNo limitations
License for useCC BY-SA 4.0
Link to dataset after processing by data centre{0335A472-B4C6-4DED-B15C-699CFC66532F}


Latitude north boundary60
Longitude east boundary179
Latitude south boundary-57
Longitude west boundary-179
Coordinate reference systemWorld Geodetic System 84
Sea areaNorth Sea
Southern Ocean
Baltic Sea
Mediterranean Sea, Western Basin
Indian Ocean
South Pacific Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
Vertical extent maximum1.5 Metres

Data types, collection and processing

Observation typePCBs and organic micropollutants
Other physical oceanographic measurements
ParameterMicro-litter in water bodies
Platform typeself-propelled boat
Platform nameAkzoNobel
Platform typeself-propelled boat
Platform nameTurn the Tide on Plastic
Data quality processing informationThe sampling was performed for roughly 1.5 h every 20 h in order to get access to the sea water while the teams produced fresh water with their water maker. One filter cartridge containing 3 filters was used for two sampling days due to weight restrictions. The opening diameter of these filters were 44 mm. Leg 0 and 12 done by Turn the Tide on plastic were 24/7 measurements. From Leg 9 on team Turn the Tide on Plastic kindly changed to single day sampling for each filter for higher spatial resolution. The provided measurements were acquired from single samples from a 100 µm stainless steel filter. A coarse filter 500 µm above and fine filter of 30 µm below the 100µm filter was used in the filter cartridge on the yachts. The OceanPack™Race, where a bypass of water ran through these filters had a 2 mm coarse filter also, which results in a maximal particle size of 2 mm.

Process information

Submitting organisationHelmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Submission identifier (UUID)53501fac-3cb5-4881-95f7-ad7409086383
Date of dataset creation2018-11-14
Date of dataset revision2018-12-18
Date of metadata creation2018-12-18
Date of metadata latest revision2018-12-20
Date of publishing2018-12-20
Date of processed dataset publication2019-04-01
Processing data centreNational Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics - OGS, Division of Oceanography
Summary record-ID232