Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Climate change threatens marine environment in the Baltic Sea

At the end of the 21st century, the temperature in the Baltic Sea will be higher and the salt content lower than at any time since 1850. If no action is taken, there may be major consequences for the marine environment.

“This is the first time anyone has taken a detailed look at how climate models and individual factors combine to affect a specific region,” says Jonathan Havenhand, researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

A large number of researchers from countries around the Baltic Sea have been collaborating on an interdisciplinary project to study the effects of global climate change on the environment in the Baltic Sea. They have combined today's best climate models with models of additional factors that affect the environment in the Baltic Sea.

“There are plenty of studies showing the environmental impact of individual factors, or models showing global changes in the climate, but this is the first time that anyone has taken a detailed look at how these factors combine to affect a specific region. This makes this project unique,” says Jonathan Havenhand from the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

Researchers have studied how well the models work by entering data from 1850 until 2006, and then comparing the models’ predictions with what actually happened during that period.

The models proved to be reasonably accurate, and were therefore used to predict what will happen in the Baltic Sea between now and 2098. The models show that the salt content in the Baltic Sea will fall and that the temperature will rise as a consequence of increases in air temperature and precipitation.

The increase in temperature will cause the oxygen content of the water to fall, making the effects of eutrophication more pronounced. The change in salt content may result in species that are currently at the edge of their dispersion area disappearing, leading to a decline in the diversity of species.

“One such example is the blue mussel, which cannot survive if the salt content is lower than it is at present in the Northern Baltic Sea. It feeds on algae and purifies large volumes of water. This makes it an important species. We can also expect cod stocks to fall, even if we restrict fishing, as the oxygen content, temperature and salt content will change so much that reproduction will become difficult,” says Jonathan Havenhand.

In their study, the researchers showed that despite these changes it may be possible to counteract the effects of global climate change on the environment in the Baltic Sea, for example by reducing the run-off of nutrients from land. One special feature of the study is that it quantifies the effects of such measures.

“We aren’t making any judgement about what should be done, we’re simply providing a tool to allow decision-makers to assess what needs to be done in order to achieve a given desired effect,” says Jonathan Havenhand.

But according to a questionnaire-based survey conducted among decision-makers in the countries around the Baltic Sea, those in power would prefer to wait. The results showed that while they might view climate change as a problem, it is perceived to be something relatively remote in terms of time.

This led researchers to the conclusion that more information is needed about the importance and urgency of measures to counteract the effects of climate change.

The results of the study will contribute to the Helsinki Commission’s (HELCOM) proposed action plan for the Baltic Sea.

This project was a three-year BONUS project as part of the EU’s initiative for the Baltic region. The results were published recently in Environmental Research Letters (Meier et al. Environ Res Lett. 7 (2012).

For more information please contact:
Jonathan Havenhand Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Tel.: +46 (0)31 786 96 82

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

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

Seeking balanced networks: how neurons adjust their proteins during homeostatic scaling.

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

More VideoLinks >>>