Cumulative impacts of offshore windfarms

  • Hans-Peter Damian
  • Thomas Merck


Offshore windfarms intrude upon an environment already heavily affected by human activities such as shipping and fishing. As they are large and complex installations and given the large numbers planned, offshore windfarms can be expected to have significant impacts on marine ecosystems with long-lasting effects from both construction and operation. Environmental impacts of offshore windfarms include destruction of the sea bottom and benthic communities, disruption of migrating species such as birds via barrier effects, and disturbance of sound-sensitive marine species through increased underwater noise. The various impacts affect species both concurrently and sequentially at different life stages and should therefore be assessed from a cumulative perspective.


Marine Mammal Impulsive Noise Harbour Porpoise Offshore Wind Turbine Pile Driving 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aumüller R, Boos K, Freienstein S, Hil, K, Hill R (2011). Beschreibung eines Vogelschlagereignisses und seiner Ursachen an einer Forschungsplattform in der Deutschen Bucht – Vogelwarte 49: 9–16.Google Scholar
  2. Aumüller R, Boos K, Freienstein S, Hill K, Hill R (2013). Weichen Zugvögel Windenergieanlagen auf See aus? Eine Methode zur Untersuchung und Analyse von Reaktionen tagsüber ziehender Vogelarten auf Offshore-Windparks. – Vogelwarte 51: 3–13.Google Scholar
  3. Andrew RK, Howe BM, Mercer JA (2011). Long-time trends in ship traffic noise for four sites off the North American West Coast. – J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 129, 642–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coates R (2002). The Advanced SONAR Course. – Seiche ISBN 1-904055-01-X.Google Scholar
  5. Busch M, Kannen A, Garthe S, Jessop M (2013). Consequences of a cumulative perspective on marine environmental impacts: Offshore windfarming and seabirds at North Sea scale in context of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Ocean & Coastal Management 71 (2013) 213–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dierschke V & Garthe S (2006). Literature review of offshore windfarms with regard to seabirds. – In: Zucco C, Wende W, Merck T, Köchling I, Köppel J (eds.): Ecological Research on Offshore Windfarms: International Exchange of Experiences. Part B: Literature Review of Ecological Impacts. BfN-Skripten 186, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, pp. 131–198.Google Scholar
  7. Drewitt AL & Langston RHW (2006). Assessing the impacts of windfarms on birds. – Ibis 148: 29–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Everaert J & Stienen EWM (2007). Impact of wind turbines on birds in Zeebrugge (Belgium) – significant effect on breeding tern colony due to collisions. – Biodivers. Conserv. 16: 3345–3359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hüppop O & Hilgerloh G (2012). Flight call rates of migrating thrushes: effects of wind conditions, humidity and time of day at an illuminated offshore platform. – J. Avian Biol.: 85–90.Google Scholar
  10. Hüppop O, Dierschke J, Exo KM, Fredrich E, Hill R (2006). Bird migration studies and potential collision risk with offshore wind turbines – Ibis 148: 90–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lucke K, Siebert U, Lepper PA, Blanchet MA (2009). Temporary shift in masked hearing thresholds in a harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) after exposure to seismic airgun stimuli. – J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 125: 4060–4070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Krijgsveld KL, Fijn RC, Heunks C, van Horssen PW, de Fouw J, Collier MP, Poot MJM, Beuker D, Dirksen S (2010). Effect Studies Offshore Windfarm Egmond aan Zee. Progress report on fluxes and behaviour of flying birds 33 covering 2007 & 2008. Bureau Waardenburg report 09-023. Bureau Waardenburg, Culemborg.Google Scholar
  13. Koschinski S & Luedemann K (2013). Development of Noise Mitigation Measures in Offshore Windfarm Construction. – Report to the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, BfN, Bonn. ( Scholar
  14. McDonald MA, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM (2006). Increases in deep ocean ambient noise in the Northeast Pacific west of San Nicolas Island, California. – J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 120(2):711–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. OSPAR (2006). Review of the Current State of Knowledge on the Environmental Impacts of the Location, Operation and Removal/Disposal of Offshore Wind-Farms. – OSPAR Commission, 2009. Publication number 278/2006.Google Scholar
  16. OSPAR (2009). Overview of the impacts of anthropogenic underwater sound in the marine environment. – OSPAR Commission, 2009. Publication number 441/2009.Google Scholar
  17. Petersen IK, MacKenzie M, Rexstad E, Wisz MS, Fox AD (2011). Comparing pre- and post-construction distributions of long-tailed ducks Clangula hyemalis in and around the Nysted offshore windfarm, Denmark: a quasi-designed experiment accounting for imperfect detection, local surface features and autocorrelation. – CREEM Tech Report 2011-1.Google Scholar
  18. Perrow MR, Gilroy JJ, Skeate ER, Tomlinson ML (2011). Effects of the construction of Scroby Sands offshore windfarm on the prey base of Little tern Sternula albifrons at its most important UK colony. – Mar. Poll. Bull. 62: 1661–1670. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Richardson WJ, Malme CI, Green Jr CR, Thomson DH (1995). Marine mammals and noise. – Vol 1. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Schwemmer P, Mendel B, Sonntag N, Dierschke V, Garthe S (2011). Effects of ship traffic on seabirds in offshore waters: implications for marine conservation and spatial planning. – Ecol. Appl. 21: 1851–1860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Southall BL, Bowles AE, Ellison WT, Finneran JJ, Gentry RL, Greene jr. CR, Kastak D, Ketten DR, Miller JH, Nachtigall PE, Richardson WJ, Thomas JA, Tyack PL (2007). Marine mammal noise exposure criteria: Initial scientific recommendations. – Aquat. Mamm. 33, 411–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tougaard J, Carstensen J, Wisz MS, Jespersen M, Teilmann J, Bech NI, Skov H (2006). Harbour Porpoises on Horns Reef Effects of the Horns Reef Windfarm. – Final Report to Vattenfall A/S, NERI, Roskilde, Denmark.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Peter Damian
    • 1
  • Thomas Merck
    • 2
  1. 1.Federal Environment AgencyDessau-RoßlauGermany
  2. 2.Branch Office Isle of VilmFederal Agency for Nature ConservationPutbusGermany

Personalised recommendations