WWF UK

Monitoring effects of climate change on eutrophication in the Northern Baltic Sea

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Courtesy of WWF UK

This WWF report analyses the impacts of climate change on eutrophication in the northern waters of the Baltic Sea. Two scenarios are presented. The first scenario, the Climate Change Scenario, assesses the impacts of predicted climate change under circumstances where no additional conservation measures are carried out. The second scenario, the Climate Change and the Baltic Sea Action Plan Scenario, assesses whether the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) prepared by the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) can reach one of its main targets – “a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication” – despite the impacts of climate change.

Both scenarios show that climate change will stimulate further eutrophication in the Northern Baltic Sea. The Gulf of Finland, the Archipelago Sea and the Gulf of Riga will Summary receive increasing nutrient loads, resulting in higher algal biomasses. If fully implemented, the BSAP will compensate for the effects of climate change by mitigating the increase in algal biomass. However, the predicted impacts of global warming evidently make the BSAP’s strategic goal on eutrophication unattainable. In spite of the conservation measures proposed in the BSAP, eutrophication will continue to be the most serious environmental problem facing the Baltic Sea. Consequently even stricter countrywise  utrient reduction allocations than those suggested in the BSAP are indispensable for the catchment area of the Northern Baltic Sea and particularly the Gulf of Finland.

The scenarios presented in the report were built using a 3D-ecosystem model, which calculates water fl ows, nutrient concentrations and algal biomass.

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