Science - August 26, 2009

Wind park construction bothers porpoises

Four out of ten porpoises are affected by noise pollution from the drilling.



Drilling at sea to install wind turbines can be bad news for porpoises. This is clear from research by Meike Scheidat of Imares. She studied the porpoises in their habitat in the German part of the North Sea for five years. The porpoises were counted from a plane. In one part of their habitat wind parks are going up, and the porpoises are suffering from the effects of the drilling for the foundations. They become disorientated and suffer hearing loss. Some even die. The noise drives them into areas where there is less food for them.
The worst case scenario, according to Scheidat’s calculations, is that forty percent of the population is affected by the construction. Admittedly, that’s if all eighteen planned wind parks are built at once. Scheidat advises building when few porpoises are present. In the German part of the North Sea, that’s in the spring. In the Dutch part, it’s the summer. Scheidat pleads for more coordination between the countries around the North Sea. Besides Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and the UK all have big plans for wind parks. No one knows what the total effect of these projects could be on the porpoises . / RK
 
 
 

Re:act