Oxygen Survey in the Baltic Sea 2016 - Extent of Anoxia and Hypoxia, 1960-2016

Type: Report
Series: RO 58
Author: Martin Hansson & Lars Andersson


A climatological atlas of the oxygen situation in the deep water of the Baltic Sea was first published in 2011 in SMHI Report Oceanography No 42. Since 2011, annual updates have been made as additional data have been reported to ICES.  In this report the results for 2015 have been updated and the preliminary results for 2016 are presented. Oxygen data from 2016 have been collected during the annual Baltic International Acoustic Survey (BIAS) and from national monitoring programmes with contributions from Sweden, Finland, Poland and Estonia.

For the autumn period each profile in the dataset was examined for the occurrence of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) and anoxia (total absence of oxygen). The depths of onset of hypoxia and anoxia were then interpolated between sampling stations producing two surfaces representing the depth at which hypoxic respectively anoxic conditions are found. The volume and area of hypoxia and anoxia have been calculated and the results have then been transformed to maps and diagrams to visualize the annual autumn oxygen situation during the analysed period.

The updated results for 2015 and the preliminary results for 2016 show that the extreme oxygen conditions in the Baltic Proper after the regime shift in 1999 continue. Both the areal extent and the volume with anoxic conditions have, after 1999, been constantly elevated to levels only observed occasionally before the regime shift. Despite the frequent inflows to the Baltic Sea since 2014 approximately 17% of the bottom area was affected by anoxia and 28% by hypoxia during 2016. Nevertheless, the amount of hydrogen sulphide has, due to the inflows, decreased in the Eastern and Northern Gotland Basin.