BalticWay project


The BalticWay project is a part of the BONUS activities. This framework of cooperation brings together the research communities of marine, maritime, economical and societal research to address the major challenges faced by the Baltic Sea region. Research in this framework is funded jointly by the marine research funding agencies in the nine Baltic Sea countries countries together with the European Union.

The research proposal

BalticWay: The potential of currents for environmental management of the Baltic Sea maritime industry

has been proposed by a consortium of 8 research groups from 6 Baltic Sea countries.

See a short overview of the BalticWay ideas and developments in BONUS in Brief, November 2011, p. 7

Outline of key results achieved in the BalticWay cooperation: BONUS Briefing No 7, October 2011: BalticWay

The proposal aims at a substantial decrease of marine–industry–induced environmental risks and impacts on bio–diversity, particularly on fragile ecosystems. The core objective is to develop a scientific platform for an innovative low–cost technology of environmental management of shipping, offshore, and coastal engineering activities. The technology will be applied to place dangerous activities in areas, an accident in which will have a minimum threat to vulnerable areas.

Our approach makes use of the existence of semi–persistent current patterns that considerably affect the properties of pollution propagation: the probability of transport of dangerous substances from different open sea areas to the vulnerable areas is largely different. For certain regions (areas of reduced risk) this probability is relatively small.

The location of areas of reduced risk will be established numerically and verified experimentally. A combination of the classical risk analysis with novel mathematical methods (such as inverse methods) will be applied to identify the persistence, properties, and potential effect of such areas, and to establish generic criteria for their existence. Based on existing results, we concentrate on the Gulf of Finland and the Darss Sill.

As a first step we consider the consequences of current–induced propagation of oil spills released from ships, aiming to route ships along the least dangerous paths, much like dangerous transports on land follow predefined routes.





   Tarmo Soomere, Institute of Cybernetics at Tallinn University of Technology




   Finnish Environmental Institute (Helsinki);

   Department of Meteorology, University of Stockholm,

   Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (Norrköping),

   Danish Meteorological Institute (Copenhagen),

   Institute for Coastal Research, Helmholtz–Zentrum Geesthacht,

   Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel,

   Laser Diagnostic Instruments (Tallinn)




 BalticWay summer school      Draft timetable
     Lecture notes : Kai Myrberg




BalticWay results presented at international conferences: 




 BalticWay information:




  • The project started overall successfully, in spite of some delays in the first half-year because of financing issues that needed to be resolved.
  • Cooperation established; deliverables and (internal) milestones mostly on track; one deliverable ahead of the schedule; two additional deliverables released.
  • Clear progress in scientific content; very positive feedback from several scientific conferences.
  • Estimated 80% of the first-year activitie
    s performed; several items ahead of time
  • Great success in dissemination & demonstration of the importance of cutting edge science in the political decision–making process (Nord Stream consultations), followed by public distinctions of the members of the IoC group.


  • Mapping of long–term behaviour and dispersion properties of subsurface currents in the Baltic Sea with the use of autonomous drifters based on the longest ever recorded time series of drifters’ positions.
  • Formulation of the four key steps of the technology of the fairway design, development of algorithms for the identification of an optimum fairway based on local features of environmental risks.
  • Quantification of spatial and temporal variability of average and extreme properties of the Baltic Sea wave fields based on numerical simulations for 1970–2007 and historical wave data.


  • Analysis of the components of the developed technology, its mathematical justification and synthesis for the use in different environments.
  • Application of the developed technology to different sea domains (Baltic Proper, SW Baltic Sea).
  • Extensive field measurement campaign towards the mapping of dispersion properties of surface and subsurface currents of the Baltic Proper and the Gulf of Finland; application of the results for improvement of the underlying models.
  • Massive dissemination of the results to the scientific community in the leading scholarly journals, invited and plenary presentations to high-level conferences; invited presentations to science policy conferences.


Manuscript on surface-drifter observations in the Baltic Sea