The HZG Participates in New International Baltic Sea Research Programs
Eight new research projects have begun on April 1st within the framework of BONUS, the international Baltic Sea research and development program. These projects total 17.3 million Euros in funding. Scientists from the Institute of Coastal Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht are participating in two of these projects. The researchers are analysing the influence of shipping on the Baltic Sea region and are working on methods and tools for supporting maritime spatial planning.
Scientists from all eight EU member states bordering the Baltic Sea participate in BONUS and provide information and tools for political decision makers to strengthen the ecological, scientific and social development in the Baltic Sea region. The scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht are participating in BaltSpace (“Towards Sustainable Governance of Baltic Marine Space”) and SHEBA (“Sustainable Shipping and Environment in the Baltic Sea). SHEBA is managed by Swedish scientists and includes colleagues from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany and Poland. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht leads the “Air Pollution” and “Dissemination, Education and Data Products” packages within the project.
The Influence of Shipping on the Baltic Sea Region
The SHEBA scientists examine Baltic Sea shipping and determine current and future maritime traffic levels. They develop future scenarios and calculate shipping traffic influence on water quality and emissions released into the air and on underwater noise. They use the most up-to-date emissions model for this task, a model based on an automatic identification system for shipping vessel movement. Atmospheric, oceanic and noise propagation models are analysed in combination with ecotoxicology studies to evaluate the spatial-temporal distributions and effects of these stress factors on the Baltic Sea region.
One aim of SHEBA is to identify the influence of various pollutants on water quality indicators as defined in the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) as well as on air quality indicators. The possibility of reducing the pressure resulting from shipping traffic also plays a central role in the project. SHEBA is supported by many sectors, including harbours, the seafaring industry and government bodies.
Supporting Maritime Spatial Planning
The second project in which the HZG is participating, BaltSpace, includes researchers from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania and Poland, all working in cooperation to develop scientifically funded tools to support maritime spatial planning. Maritime spatial planning is considered critical in enabling the increased utilisation of the marine environment and its resources while ensuring a “good environmental status”. The objectives are politically expressed in the Blue Growth Strategy and in the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
The scientists in BaltSpace see research needs in terms of promoting and restricting the implementation of maritime spatial planning at the national and international levels in the Baltic Sea region. They also wish to improve cooperation and interest reconciliation of the economic maritime sectors as well as between the riparian states. “We wish to close this gap, and test tools based on socially and scientifically-sound analysis that can combine ecological, social, scientific and political information,” says HZG Project Director Andreas Kannen. Representatives from government bodies responsible for maritime planning in states bordering the Baltic Sea are involved on a variety of levels and a dialogue is arranged between scientists and members of the planning sector. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht leads the project’s “Approaches and Tools” but is also involved in all other packages.
Both SHEBA and BaltSpace will run for three years, ending in March 2018.
- More information on the SHEBA project
- More information on the BaltSpace project
- BONUS Secretariat press release
- BONUS program website
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