Project Goals

Environmental conditions of the Baltic Sea’s ecosystem strongly depend on meteorological forcing over the area and adjacent NE Atlantic. It affects e.g. regional hydrography and saline water inflow from the North Sea into the Baltic Sea. These changes are recorded in the Baltic Sea sediments.

We aim to identify forcing mechanisms of environmental changes of the Baltic Sea, to differentiate natural variability and changing patterns due to man‐made activity, by studying these sediment archives. In addition we will provide scenarios of the future development of the Baltic Sea. We will study ongoing and past changes in both surface and deep water conditions and their timing by means of multi‐proxy studies. We use sediment proxy data along transect from the marine Skagerrak to the freshwater dominated northern Baltic Sea.

Project aims are:

  • Quantification of the relationships between available long term instrumental data and signatures of modern sediments.
  • Extension of these studies to longer time scales (past 6000 years).
  • Link these BS records to climatic data from the wider North Atlantic realm in order to identify the forcing mechanisms of environmental changes.
  • Produce model simulations for selected time slices over the past thousands of years (e.g. Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age). Proxy reconstructions will be compared to results from model simulations. We will use these evaluated models to provide predictions of the Baltic Sea ecosystem state at the end of the 21st century for selected IPCC climate change scenarios.

A deeper scientific knowledge and understanding of the factors affecting the long-term changes in the Baltic Sea and of possible future changes will provide basis for improved management and implementation of policy strategies (e.g. the proposed European Marine Strategy Directive) adapting to future climate change.

The project work is divided into following work packages (WP's) and logically proceeding tasks:

WP 1. Sediment proxy studies. Leader: M. Moros (IOW), co-leader: A. Kuijpers (GEUS)
WP 2. Modelling approach. Leader: T. Neumann (IOW), co-leader: M. Meier (SMHI)
WP 3. Synthesis. Leader: A. Kotilainen (GTK), co-leader: E. Jansen (BCCR)
WP 4. Training and Education. Leader: D. Ryabchuk (VSEGEI), co-leader: M. Kotilainen, Helsinki