Modeling the effectiveness of oil combating from an ecological perspective - A Bayesian network for the Gulf of Finland; the Baltic Sea

Fisheries and Environmental Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Journal of hazardous materials (Impact Factor: 4.33). 09/2010; 185(1):182-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.09.017
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Maritime traffic poses a major threat to marine ecosystems in the form of oil spills. The Gulf of Finland, the easternmost part of the Baltic Sea, has witnessed a rapid increase in oil transportation during the last 15 years. Should a spill occur, the negative ecological impacts may be reduced by oil combating, the effectiveness of which is, however, strongly dependent on prevailing environmental conditions and available technical resources. This poses increased uncertainty related to ecological consequences of future spills. We developed a probabilistic Bayesian network model that can be used to assess the effectiveness of different oil combating strategies in minimizing the negative effects of oil on six species living in the Gulf of Finland. The model can be used for creating different accident scenarios and assessing the performance of various oil combating actions under uncertainty, which enables its use as a supportive tool in decision-making. While the model is confined to the western Gulf of Finland, the methodology is adaptable to other marine areas facing similar risks and challenges related to oil spills.

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