Baltic Sea countries on the way to agree on joint climate adaptation

A joint strategy will be presented within three years on how the countries around the Baltic will adapt to climate changes affecting the sea and its coastal zones. SMHI is one of the stakeholders that will help drive this ambition to completion.

BaltAdapt is an EU project in which 11 institutions from seven countries around the Baltic Sea aim to draw up a joint climate adaptation strategy for the entire Baltic Sea region. SMHI is one of the principal stakeholders.

“BaltAdapt involves managing the Baltic Sea as a joint area, by drawing up a strategy to adapt the region to future climate change. We need to pull in the same direction to achieve the goals of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea,” explains Project Manager Cristina Edlund of SMHI.

From global to local

“According to the results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other international studies, and indeed SMHI’s own projections, we can see for instance that the temperature in a future climate will increase in the Baltic Sea region, and that the sea level will rise. How will the countries around the Baltic Sea deal with this? These are the kinds of issues we’ll be focusing on,” Cristina explains.

This entails studying the strategies, guidelines and environmental goals at national level regarding climate adaptation in the relevant countries. Identifying gaps or differences lays the foundation for the ongoing process. The work will also entail identifying which stakeholders are affected.

“Projections show, for example, that climate change will lead to a higher sea level. How will the infrastructure be affected in coastal regions, and what impact will it have on ports and their operations? We need to identify which players are affected by the altered climate, and involve relevant decision-makers in the project,” Cristina continues.

These players will then contribute based on their various perspectives, and will also have an input in the future anchoring process.

Joint strategy

“The main challenge will be agreeing on a joint climate adaptation strategy. BaltAdapt has to put forward a proposal that all the affected parties feel they can support,” says Cristina, and goes on to say:

“Once our assignment is complete the new strategies will be able to be anchored at national, regional and European level.”

SMHI’s far-reaching involvement

The Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research at Linköping University is SMHI’s collaboration partner in the work package managed by Cristina Edlund, i.e. the sub-project that is drawing up a climate adaptation strategy for the Baltic Sea region.

Taking a holistic approach to the Baltic Sea’s future climate adaptation strategy requires in-depth knowledge about climate change, vulnerability analyses and an action plan for implementation. Scientists from SMHI are taking part in these work packages, and are leading the task group whose job it is to produce regional climate information. SMHI is also contributing a tool that calculates the transport of nutrients to the sea.