Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Anthropogenic Mixing in Seasonally Stratified Shelf Seas by Offshore Wind Farm Infrastructure

Dorrell, Robert M.; Lloyd, Charlie J.; Lincoln, Ben J.; Rippeth, Tom P.; Taylor, John R.; Caulfield, Colm cille P.; Sharples, Jonathan; Polton, Jeff A.; Scannell, Brian D.; Greaves, Deborah M.; Hall, Rob A.; Simpson, John H.


Charlie J. Lloyd

Ben J. Lincoln

Tom P. Rippeth

John R. Taylor

Colm cille P. Caulfield

Jonathan Sharples

Jeff A. Polton

Brian D. Scannell

Deborah M. Greaves

Rob A. Hall

John H. Simpson


The offshore wind energy sector has rapidly expanded over the past two decades, providing a renewable energy solution for coastal nations. Sector development has been led in Europe, but is growing globally. Most developments to date have been in well-mixed, i.e., unstratified, shallow-waters near to shore. Sector growth is, for the first time, pushing developments to deep water, into a brand new environment: seasonally stratified shelf seas. Seasonally stratified shelf seas, where water density varies with depth, have a disproportionately key role in primary production, marine ecosystem and biogeochemical cycling. Infrastructure will directly mix stratified shelf seas. The magnitude of this mixing, additional to natural background processes, has yet to be fully quantified. If large enough it may erode shelf sea stratification. Therefore, offshore wind growth may destabilize and fundamentally change shelf sea systems. However, enhanced mixing may also positively impact some marine ecosystems. This paper sets the scene for sector development into this new environment, reviews the potential physical and environmental benefits and impacts of large scale industrialization of seasonally stratified shelf seas and identifies areas where research is required to best utilize, manage, and mitigate environmental change.


Dorrell, R. M., Lloyd, C. J., Lincoln, B. J., Rippeth, T. P., Taylor, J. R., Caulfield, C. C. P., …Simpson, J. H. (2022). Anthropogenic Mixing in Seasonally Stratified Shelf Seas by Offshore Wind Farm Infrastructure. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, Article 830927.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jan 24, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2022
Publication Date Mar 22, 2022
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 7, 2022
Journal Frontiers in Marine Science
Electronic ISSN 2296-7745
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 830927
Keywords Offshore wind energy; Shelf seas; Marine biogeochemistry; Stratification; Turbulent mixing
Public URL


Published article (10.1 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2022 Dorrell, Lloyd, Lincoln, Rippeth, Taylor, Caulfield, Sharples, Polton, Scannell, Greaves, Hall and Simpson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations