The drift of marine litter in the southern North Sea was simulated with the offline Lagrangian transport model PELETS-2D. Assuming different source regions, passive tracer particles were released every 28 h within a nine-year period. Based on pre-calculated hourly wind and ocean current data, drift simulations were carried out forward and backward in time with and without the assumption of extra wind forces influencing particle movement. Due to strong variability of currents, backward simulations did not allow for the identification of particular source regions influencing given monitoring sites. Neither accumulation regions at open sea could be identified by forward simulations. A seasonal signal, however, could be identified in the number of tracer particles that reached the coastal areas. Both particle drift velocity and variability of drift paths further increased when an extra wind drift was assumed.
Daniel Neumann, Ulrich Callies, Michael Matthies, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 86, Issues 1–2, Pages 219–228, September 2014