bachelor thesis

The potential effect of offshore windfarm fundaments on primary production in the German Bight of the North Sea


Coastal ecosystems are affected by manmade climate change. To reduce climate change impacts, mitigation measures, like replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy technology are implemented. For example, offshore wind farms are being built into the German bright of the North Sea. Since this an interference with a complex ecosystem, the positive or negative effects of the installed wind turbine fundaments on coastal ecosystems should be studied. In this thesis, available historical in situ temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll fluorescence data in surface and bottom waters, measured at a single station in the North Sea, are examined to infer differences before and after the establishment of wind farm fundaments. The station is located in the German Bright, 80 km from Sylt, next to the wind farms Sandbank, Butendiek and, the closest, DanTysk. The results show that there was summer stratification prior (in 2011), and no stratification after (in 2014) the establishment of the monopile-fundaments. Higher primary production in surface waters coincided with the observed stratification period, indicating a clear link between stratification and elevated primary production in June–July 2011 before the establishment of the fundaments. It is unclear if monopile-fundaments are the driver of the observed changes. To calculate the yearly production between the two years, further work is needed.
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