Lowest recorded oxygen concentration at all monitoring locations throughout the period (1955-2009) in the entire Baltic Sea with insets for the Stockholm Archipelago (upper left) and the Finnish Archipelago Sea (lower right).(From Conley et al 2011, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45 (16), pp 6777–6783, DOI: 10.1021/es201212r)

Nährstofffracht und Klimwandel machen Ostsee zu schaffen

Dies ist eines der Ergebnisse des „Bonus“- Programms zur Zukunft der Ostsee. So stieg die Fläche sauerstoffreien Zonen in der Ostsee von 10000 Km2 auf jetzt 60000 km2 seit den 50er Jahren an. Hinzu kommt ein veränderter Wasserhaushalt und weiterhin eine zu große Nähstofffracht in der der Ostsee.

Die Ergebnisse und Zusammenfassung des Projekts finden sich hier:

Nutrient load reductions are even more critical in the future climate of the Baltic Sea, top research finds

BONUS joint Baltic Sea research and development programme

With the overall water temperature projected to increase and salinity to decrease, nutrient load reductions are even more critical in the future if the HELCOM’s Baltic Sea Action Plan targets are to be reached, finds the model projections by ECOSUPPORT, one of the 16 BONUS+ projects* sharing the most up-to-date top Baltic Sea research results with the policymakers.

The BONUS+ projects have been piloting the unprecedented model of the macro-regional top Baltic Sea science programme BONUS for the past three years and are now churning out critical knowledge for the decision makers to use in key policy processes**.

For the first time databases and models developed via the decision support system Nest assures realistic Baltic-wide estimates of anticipated nutrient reductions and their costs. “The total costs of achieving the HELCOM’s Baltic Sea Action Plan targets would undoubtedly be lower if the cost-effectiveness of different measures were taken into account in the allocation of the country specific quotas”, says Professor Fredrik Wulff from the Baltic Nest Institute and the coordinator of the RECOCA project. Also, according to the PROBALT project, what is particularly needed is a macro-regional, binding, cost-effective and fair agreement on the prevention of eutrophication in the Baltic Sea.

“Present and future changes in precipitation over the Baltic Sea catchment will cause a decrease in salinity and loss of marine biodiversity”, says the coordinator of AMBER, Dr Joachim Dippner from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde. A fellow BONUS+ coordinator Jacob Carstensen from the HYPER project highlights that oxygen depletion – so-called hypoxia – has spread drastically from less than 10,000 km2 before 1950 to over 60,000 km2 in recent years, a trend very closely linked with nutrient inputs. Moreover, INFLOW coordinator Aarno Kotilainen from Geological Survey of Finland adds that observations on past changes together with model simulations suggest that ongoing climate warming will increase the environmental problems (i.e. lack of oxygen) of the Baltic Sea in the future.

The results of the BALTIC-C project indicate a strong probability of eutrophication having a key role in variation in acid balance of the Sea. The results originate from the first integrated Baltic basin model framework now developed on all major river inflows of carbon, alkalinity and nutrients, atmospheric load and interaction with the North Sea. The effects of increased gas accumulation in the Baltic sediment has been studied by BALTIC GAS project showing, among other, that shallow gas in the seabed may pose hazards to seabed structures such as wind farms, pipelines, power cables and off-shore drilling operations by destablishing the sea floor.

BALTGENE coordinator Kerstin Johannesson from University of Gothenburg says that policies dealing with management of genetic biodiversity are either lacking or too complex to be implemented, or they are open to a wide range of interpretation, this in spite of the need for genetic diversity to sustain populations of plants and animals. According to BAZOOCA scientists studying the Baltic zooplankton cascades, it is the fishery policy that remains the key tool for management of the Baltic ecosystem as fisheries continue to be the largest regulatory factor for the pelagic food web in the Baltic.

Providing a way for managers to obtain useful maps on the distribution of habitats and species are the foci of PREHAB project whose predictive modelling demonstrates the necessity of putting management actions in a spatial context. “Despite differences between areas in the region, the people of the Baltic Sea countries value a clean and healthy sea and are willing to pay for the mitigation actions”, says the coordinator Mats Lindegarth from the University of Gothenburg.

“Sharing this diverse and current knowledge with policymakers who actually design and implement marine and maritime policies in the Baltic Sea countries is crucially important,” says Dr. Kaisa Kononen, the Executive Director of BONUS. “We need to ensure that the open science-policy dialogue continues and that progress is made for the good of the Baltic Sea region.”

*There are 16 BONUS+ projects that have run 2009-2011; AMBER, BALCOFISH, BALTGENE, BALTIC GAS, BALTIC-C, BALTICWAY, BAZOOCA, BEAST, ECOSUPPORT, HYPER, IBAM, INFLOW, PREHAB, PROBALT, RECOCA, RISKGOV. Four-page briefing documents outlining the key results of each of these projects are available at www.bonusportal.org/briefings

**The research of the fit-for-purpose and policy-driven BONUS programme is relevant to many key policy processes related to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive, the Maritime Spatial Planning and HELCOM’s Baltic Sea Action plan among other.