REP Project

April 25, 2024

Establishing the potential of floating wind farms to mitigate the warming of stratified shelf seas

Image of a wind turbine floating on the surface of the sea while being towed into position by small boats.

Location: Bangor University.

6-week placement.

We have an exciting opportunity for a 6-week funded project working in the School of Ocean sciences at Bangor University. The research experience placement student will work with Bangor oceanographers to understand the environmental impact of floating wind farms, and how this could mitigate climate change.


Every spring the deeper regions of temperate shelf seas stratify, as a warm surface layer forms, and isolates the cool deep water below.  This triggers explosive growth of microscopic algae called phytoplankton, which underpin the marine food chain, and makes these shelf seas some of the most productive on earth.  However, climate change is altering the timing and strength of seasonal stratification (Holt et al 2023), resulting in changes to the mixing of nutrients and oxygen, both vital to marine ecosystems.  Floating wind farms have the potential to mitigate this climate impact by introducing a new source of mixing by turbulent wakes.  Tidal flow past the wind turbine foundations will generate these wakes, which can mix the surface and deep water together offsetting the changes due to global warming.

What you will be doing

The aim of this project is to estimate the reduction in the strength and timing of seasonal stratification due to enhanced mixing from future offshore wind farms and compare this to the forecast increases due to climate change.  Working with Bangor research staff you will achieve this through data sourcing and computer simulations, utilising and tuning an established mixing model.  You will have the opportunity to use your own initiative to design an experiment, choosing platform design, geographical region, climate scenario, according to findings from your background reading and data availability.  The findings from this work could help inform industry and regulators about the design and planning, robustness of the marine environment, and opportunities for climate mitigation & nature recovery.

What you will be gain

This placement will provide you with the following valuable opportunities:

1) To conduct world-first research with potential for real world impact.

2) Project ownership with the freedom to make decisions upon which its success depends.

3) Gain understanding of the physical environment of shelf seas, particularly competition between heat input and stirring by wind and tide in determining stratification and the importance to marine ecosystems.

4) Develop multi-disciplinary skills, including fieldwork (as available), data sourcing, basic numerical modelling (in MATLAB), with benefits for employability and career development.

5) To be named on potential publications, benefiting career development.

The successful candidate will work in Bangor Universities school of Ocean sciences alongside a diverse team of scientists and technicians, with opportunities for seagoing fieldwork depending on timing and availability.


To apply

We encourage applications from students from all backgrounds. Please check you meet the eligibility criteria before completing the EDI Form 2024 ; this form is a mandatory part of the application process, but contains ‘prefer not to say’ options for all questions asked.

Once you have completed the online data collection form you will receive an email with the application form and details of how to apply to the supervisor. The application form should be completed and emailed to the lead supervisor along with a reference from your personal tutor.