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Climate change in the Baltic Sea basin -- past, present and future
Date:1/22/2008

entire ecosystem from bacteria and plankton all the way to commercially important fish species such as cod. Ecosystems on land including managed forests could benefit from an extended growing season, but may also become increasingly vulnerable to damage by insect and fungal pests as well as other stresses.

A milder climate could reduce the ice cover in the Baltic Sea by 50 to 80 %. While ice-free conditions would be beneficial for shipping in the Baltic Sea, they would threaten populations of animals such as the Baltic ringed seal, an endemic species that is dependent on ice surfaces in order to reproduce.

Precipitation may be expected to change as well, with possible increases of 25-75 % during winter and decreases of up to 45 % during the summer season in some areas. The combination of reduced rainfall and increased temperatures in summer could threaten water supplies, food production and forestry in countries along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea.

Throughout this century, increased precipitation and freshwater inflow could lead to a decrease in the Baltic Seas mean salinity and also to intensified eutrophication and algal blooms.

According to the IPCC, global sea levels are expected to rise by 20 to 60 cm by the end of the century. In the Baltic Sea, this increase will be accompanied by local land uplift and lowering. Whereas sea levels are expected to rise in the south, the rise in water levels will be partly compensated for by naturally occurring uplift of the land mass in the North.

BACC Report recognized by HELCOM and taken as an example of other regional efforts

The projects findings have served as the basis of a report already published by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM). Climate scenarios are plausible but frequently also simplified descriptions of possible futures they arent clear-cut predictions, says Hans von Storch, in order to explain the need for further Baltic Sea research. S
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Contact: Dr. Torsten Fischer
torsten.fischer@gkss.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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