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Environmental sensitivity to oil spills

The BRISK project has developed a common methodology to describe environmental sensitivity to oil spilt on the sea surface for the entire Baltic Sea.

Analysis of the sensitivity maps reveals the existence of three types of areas highly sensitive to oil spills:

  • coastal waters,

  • archipelagos, and

  • shallow waters.


Environmental sensitivity to oil in summer.
Environmental sensitivity to oil in summer.

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Key environmental parameters

The applied method is based on the traditional approach to sensitivity assessments. Seventeen key environmental parameters have been selected and mapped including several habitats, species of marine flora and fauna, and protected areas, as well as human activities.

For each season (winter, spring, summer and autumn) scores between 0 and 4 are given for each environmental parameter representing different sensitivity to oil spills and the relative importance of each parameter. By combining the scores for each season using GIS tools, integrated seasonal maps illustrating overall sensitivity can be produced.

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