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01.06.2015 | Sonderheft 3/2015 Open Access

Ambio 3/2015

Projected future climate change and Baltic Sea ecosystem management

Ambio > Sonderheft 3/2015
Agneta Andersson, H. E. Markus Meier, Matyas Ripszam, Owen Rowe, Johan Wikner, Peter Haglund, Kari Eilola, Catherine Legrand, Daniela Figueroa, Joanna Paczkowska, Elin Lindehoff, Mats Tysklind, Ragnar Elmgren
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s13280-015-0654-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Climate change is likely to have large effects on the Baltic Sea ecosystem. Simulations indicate 2–4 °C warming and 50–80 % decrease in ice cover by 2100. Precipitation may increase ~30 % in the north, causing increased land runoff of allochthonous organic matter (AOM) and organic pollutants and decreased salinity. Coupled physical–biogeochemical models indicate that, in the south, bottom-water anoxia may spread, reducing cod recruitment and increasing sediment phosphorus release, thus promoting cyanobacterial blooms. In the north, heterotrophic bacteria will be favored by AOM, while phytoplankton production may be reduced. Extra trophic levels in the food web may increase energy losses and consequently reduce fish production. Future management of the Baltic Sea must consider the effects of climate change on the ecosystem dynamics and functions, as well as the effects of anthropogenic nutrient and pollutant load. Monitoring should have a holistic approach, encompassing both autotrophic (phytoplankton) and heterotrophic (e.g., bacterial) processes.
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