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Towards Digital Twins of the Oceans: The Potential of Machine Learning for Monitoring the Impacts of Offshore Wind Farms on Marine Environments

Janina Schneider; Andre Miedtank; Oliver Zielinski
In: Sensors - Open Access Journal (Sensors), Vol. 23, Page 4581, MDPI, 2023.


With an increasing number of offshore wind farms, monitoring and evaluating the effects of the wind turbines on the marine environment have become important tasks. Here we conducted a feasibility study with the focus on monitoring these effects by utilizing different machine learning methods. A multi-source dataset for a study site in the North Sea is created by combining satellite data, local in situ data and a hydrodynamic model. The machine learning algorithm DTWkNN, which is based on dynamic time warping and k-nearest neighbor, is used for multivariate time series data imputation. Subsequently, unsupervised anomaly detection is performed to identify possible inferences in the dynamic and interdepending marine environment around the offshore wind farm. The anomaly results are analyzed in terms of location, density and temporal variability, granting access to information and building a basis for explanation. Temporal detection of anomalies with COPOD is found to be a suitable method. Actionable insights are the direction and magnitude of potential effects of the wind farm on the marine environment, depending on the wind direction. This study works towards a digital twin of offshore wind farms and provides a set of methods based on machine learning to monitor and evaluate offshore wind farm effects, supporting stakeholders with information for decision making on future maritime energy infrastructures.


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