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Climate change threatens marine environment in the Baltic Sea
Date:10/25/2012

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 to alleviate the effects of climate change, there may be major consequences for the marine environment.

"This is the first time that anyone has taken a detailed look at how climate models and individual 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, 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 sal
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Contact: Jonathan Havenhand
jon.havenhand@bioenv.gu.se
46-317-869-682
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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