Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New report consolidates knowledge on climate change in the Baltic Sea region


The International Baltic Eath Secretariat at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht coordinates international science report on climate change in the Baltic Sea region

The Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin (BACC II), a recently published report, serves as a revision and expansion of the 2008 edition of the BACC book.

Swedish west-archipelago near Marstrand

“The current publication for the Baltic Sea area is a regional variant on the global report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” says Prof. Hans von Storch, Director of the Institute of Coastal Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht and initiator of the report.

The comprehensive scientific survey includes work from 141 scientists from twelve countries. The project team was coordinated by the International Baltic Earth Secretariat at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht and consists of meteorologists, hydrologists, oceanographers and biologists.
Warming continues

The current study takes into consideration observed climate changes for approximately the last two hundred years as well as possible changes that might occur by the year 2100. These projections are obtained from computer models. Warming air temperature in the Baltic Sea region has already been verified based on measurements, but the increase is seasonally and regionally different.

The most drastic recorded increase in warming to have occurred in the northern Baltic Sea region was 1.5 degrees Celsius between 1871 and 2011 during the spring seasons. This number is well above the global warming estimates of up to one degree Celsius documented in the last IPCC report.

Computer simulations show that air temperatures in the Baltic Sea region at the end of this century, compared to today, could rise by around four to eight degrees Celsius in winter and around 1.5 to four degrees in summer – depending on the model. The simulations indicate a possible rise in surface temperatures of approximately two degrees Celsius for Baltic Sea waters—and up to four degrees Celsius in the northern Baltic Sea basins.

This milder climate would therefore lead to a possible decrease in Baltic Sea ice cover by fifty to eighty percent. A general increase in precipitation is expected, particularly in winter and a decrease of up to forty percent could occur on the southern coasts in summer. A precise forecast, however, is impossible due to the range of variations between the various models.

The sea level rise in the Baltic Sea is closely coupled to the global sea level. This means a possible rise of approximately thirty to eighty centimetres in the Baltic Sea region by the end of the century. This rise is superimposed, however, by geological subsidence and uplift processes. Expected rises on the southern coasts (Germany, Poland) are expected to similarly reflect that of global predictions, but this rise is partly compensated for in the northern region by natural uplift of the landmass. Estimates from computer models, however, must be treated with caution. “Climate scenarios are plausible but are often simplified descriptions of possible futures. They are not definite forecasts," warns Hans von Storch.

Marine and land ecosystems react to changes

In addition to warming Baltic Sea waters, the expected reduction in salinity would have a considerable impact on Baltic Sea flora and fauna. The entire ecosystem, from bacteria to commercial fish species such as cod, would be affected. Scientists cannot, however, currently determine without a doubt if, and to what extent, salinity will decrease in the Baltic Sea. Oxygen-free zones are expected to expand in some deep Baltic Sea basins due to continuing eutrophication combined with warming.

Land vegetation would likely become more lush due to higher temperatures and increased CO2 availability. Spring might also arrive earlier. Plant growth could be limited however, particularly in heavily utilised agricultural areas in the southern parts of the region due to a possible increase in aridity. “The observed changes in the ecosystems can be attributed to an interwoven network of causes, of which climate change is only one,” says Dr. Marcus Reckermann, Director of the International Baltic Earth Secretariat at the HZG. He adds: “The scientific challenge is to untangle this network.”

Cooperation with HELCOM and contribution to other reports

As in 2008, the results of the latest publication also form the basis of the report by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM). “HELCOM is the interface between science and environmental policy of the Baltic Sea nations, and the BACC report plays an important role in informing this policy,” says Marcus Reckermann. Further reports on regional climate change include the Hamburg Climate Report published in 2011 (established within the CLISAP Excellency Cluster at the University of Hamburg) and NOSCCA (North Sea Region Climate Change Assessment), a report to be released in 2016, which is also coordinated at the HZG and concerns the North Sea region.

he second BACC report, which has now been published, will be presented at the international "European Climate Change Adaptation Conference” (ECCA 2015) on the 14th of May in Copenhagen, where a panel of esteemed scientists and stakeholders will discuss the results.

Weitere Informationen:

Dr. Torsten Fischer | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

The gene of autumn colours

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>