Research Projects

SMHI oceanographic research unit is involved in many national and international projects to develop and link ocean modeling and observations to core services and to fundamental research questions including historical reconstructions and climate change in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Arctic regions.

The list of projects below are currently on-going. A list of completed projects may be found at this link.


AISS - Antarctic Ice Shelves Stability - Modelling ice-ocean interactions to reduce uncertainties in sea level rise projections

The purpose of this project is to better understand ice-ocean processes involved in the destabilisation of ice shelves to help reducing uncertainties in sea level rise projections.

In Antarctica, floating ice shelves, at the margin of the ice sheet, have a critical buttressing effect and their ungoing destabilisation has global implications for future climate and sea level rise. Before they collapse, they can accumulate damage leading to increased surface and basal crevasses, increasing roughness and drag, and may even disintegrate, breaking into ice mélange, similar to what has occurred in the Thwaites Western Ice Tongue in the Amundsen Sea. Additionally, they lose mass by sub-shelf melting caused by ocean warming, which has accelerated in recent decades.

Current ocean models are not able to distinguish the state of the ice beneath ice shelves assuming it is flat and the drag with the ocean is constant. Using a regional configuration of NEMO-4.2 in the Amundsen Sea, we examine the ice ocean processes involved and propose a way to parameterise them in future projections. The final goal is to use it in ice-ocean coupled models.

This is a postdoc project of Dorothée Vallot.

Partners: IGE - Université of Grenoble Alpes (UGA), France, University of St Andrews, UK; CSC – IT Center for Science, Espoo, Finland; ITGC (Internaltional Thwaites Glacier Collaboration).
Funding: Vetenskapsrådet
Project duration: September 2021– August 2024
Contact at SMHI: Dorothée Vallot


AMIME – Artificial intelligence-assisted plankton Monitoring with Imaging flow cytometry and MEtabarcoding

The aim of the project is to improve environmental monitoring of marine phytoplankton and microzooplankton using AI-assisted automated imaging in-flow system and eDNA-metabarcoding. Samples are collected in the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat using underway flow through system on R/V Svea.

SMHI is involved in field work, analyses of results from Imaging FlowCytobot and from DNA metabarcoding.

Partners: KTH SciLifeLab, Stockholm, Sweden
Funding: Swedish research council Formas
Project duration: January 2023 – December 2025
Contact at SMHI: Bengt Karlson
​​​​​​​Read more about AMIME


Arctic climate effects: Enhanced understanding

Climate change is generally more pronounced in the Arctic than at lower latitudes. The effects will be observed both regionally and globally, with a significant impact on ecosystems both on land and in water. The effects of climate change in the Arctic are also expected to affect Sweden. SMHI develops regional oceanographic models that simulate the circulation in the Arctic Ocean.

SMHI develops regional oceanographic models that simulate the circulation in the Arctic Ocean.

Funding: SMHI
Contact at SMHI: Per Pemberton


CAISA - Consistent Air-Ice-Sea Data Assimilation of Satellite Observations

To make good ocean and weather forecasts, it is crucial to make use of the superior coverage of satellites compared to in-situ observations when updating the forecasting models. In this project we will accomplish this by assimilating raw satellite data directly, which increases the consistency between the ocean and atmospheric models.

SMHI has the role of project management and work on ice and ocean modelleing and data assimilation.

Partners: FoU-Met (SMHI) and Department of Space, Earth and Environment  (Chalmers University).
Funding: Swedish National Space Agency
Project duration: January 2022 – December 2025
Contact at SMHI: Lars Axell


Climate Invasives

Minimizing the negative effects of climate change-induced spread of invasive alien species to marine protected areas using species distribution modelling, stakeholder engagement and effective eradication method.

The project will extend the work in project ISAP[FS2]  to investigate the climate change induced spread of invasive alien species to marine protected areas. By this addition, the models will in turn enable more robust strategies and methods to be planned for many years ahead.

The aim is to minimize the negative effects using species distribution modelling, stakeholder engagement and effective eradication methods.

A regional approach spanning over three Nordic countries, something that is missing today, in close cooperation with both regional and local stakeholders, will be used to develop management advice for the management and control of the invasive alien species.

SMHI's role in the project is to estimate the connectivity and the dispersion risk between different areas and study how climate change affects habitats and reproductive opportunities.

Partners: Chalmers University of Technology (CTH), Göteborgs Marinbiologiska Laboratorium (GMBL), Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE), University of Copenhagen, PRINS Engineering.
Funding: Climate Invasives is funded by Biodiversa+, the European Biodiversity Partnership under the 2021-2022 BiodivProtect joint call for research proposals, co-funded by the European Commission (GA N°101052342) and with the funding organisations Formas (Sweden), The Research Fund of Norway and Innovation Fund Denmark.
Project duration: 2023 April – 2026 April
Contact SMHI: Sam Fredriksson
Read more about Climate Invasives 


Competence center for algal toxins and phytoplankton blooms

Establishment of the Center for Environmental Monitoring of Algal Toxins - from sampling to communication with the public.

Most phytoplankton are harmless primary producers, but some produce algal toxins that can harm human health. The project aims to improve sampling and analyzes of algal toxins and phytoplankton that produce algal toxins in the seas around Sweden. An overall aim is to produce well-founded warnings for harmful algal blooms. SMHI carries out sampling with R/V Svea and is involved in sampling around Gotland in collaboration with Region Gotland and Stockholm University.

SMHI coordinates sampling on Gotland and on R/V Svea and processes the results scientifically.

Partners: SLU, Swedish University of Agriculture, Department of Water and Environment, Uppsala (project manager), The Swedish Food Agency.
Funding: The Swedish Board of Agriculture and the EU: Support for implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Directive.
Project duration: February 2023 – January 2026
Contact at SMHI: Bengt KarlsonRead more about the competence center. 



The project DIRT-X addresses the question of how the changing climate and socioeconomic conditions influences water reservoirs and the services they provide to different economic sectors. The project is led by the SMHI hydrological research unit.

The SMHI oceanographic research unit is evaluating the effects in the Orust-Tjörn fjord system, mainly the effect on the function and structure of the phytoplankton community.

Funding: JPI-AXIS
Project duration: 2019 – 2023
Contact at SMHI: Alena Bartosova
Read more about DIRT-X


DNA-metabarcoding of marine phytoplankton

Analysis of phytoplankton is an important part of marine environmental monitoring. The analyses are normally based on microscopy. DNA-analysis has been proposed as a complement to microscopy, but there is a need for optimization and validation of this method to be able to use it in the monitoring programmes. The goal of this project is to do a full comparison between microscopy- and DNA analysis of phytoplankton.

SMHI is involved in field work on R/V Svea, analyses of results from DNA metabarcoding and microscopy together with environmental data.

Partners: Umeå university, Umeå, Sweden (project leader)
KTH SciLifeLab, Stockholm, Sweden (project partner)
Funder: The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Duration: January 2019 – December 2023
Contact: Bengt KarlsonRead more about this DNA-metabarcoding project


EDUCAS – Effectively designing and communicating next generation climate simulations over Sweden

Climate and climate change impact individuals, authorities, municipalities, and businesses, emphasizing the need for adaptation. To find the best possible adaptation strategies, high-quality climate information, presented in an understandable manner, is essential. By utilizing the latest generation of high-resolution climate models. EDUCAS aims to find optimal approaches to present climate change information and uncertainty that are adequately represented for different users.

SMHI has studied how the resolution of the atmospheric models impact the uncertainty of different ocean climate indicators.

Funding: Formas
Project duration: The project ends in 2023
​​​​​​​Read more about EDUCAS​​​​​​​


HaV-ICG-EMO – Expert support in biogeochemical modeling OSPAR ICG – EMO 2022 - 2024

Because eutrophication – the over-enrichment of water by nutrients that degrade the health of a marine ecosystem – became increasingly evident in the North Atlantic and the North Sea around 1980, the Oslo-Paris Commission (OSPAR) was established to monitor and find solutions to mitigate eutrophication and its related environmental problems. Despite large efforts to reduce nutrient loads, eutrophication still affects large areas of the North Atlantic and the North Sea. In 2005, the Intersessional Correspondence Group on Eutrophication Modelling (ICG-EMO) was formed to support OSPAR by providing robust model data sets that allow improved eutrophication assessments. These results are then taken into account in the OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR).

In this context, FoU-Oce has been an active member of the ICG-EMO group since 2019,  providing results from our most up-to-date ecosystem model and regularly participating in discussions within  OSPAR through the ICG-EMO group. This project will continue at least until 2024. 

Partners: Cefas, Deltares, Uni-Hamburg/HZG (DE), JRC, RBINS
Funding: HaV
Project duration: 2022 – 2024
Contact at SMHI: Itzel Ruvalcaba Baroni
​​​​​​​Read more about OSPAR
Read more about QSR



A multidiciplinary project tackling co-occurance of multiple water hazards in Sweden. Particular emphesis is put on the Swedish west coast.

SMHI is investigating co-variability of river streamflow, extreme sea levels and heavy precipitation.

Partners: SEI, UI
Funding: FORMAS, MSB
Project duration: 2021-2024
Contact at SMHI: Magnus Hieronymus
Read more about HydroHazards


Hydrological effects of offshore wind power

Offshore wind power reduces the wind behind the wind farms, which in turn affects currents and stratification in the ocean far outside the wind farms. SMHI has been commissioned to model how this effect will affect the sea for the planned large-scale expansion of offshore wind power.

Funding: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Project duration: 2023 – 2024
Contact SMHI: Lars Arneborg


ICOS - Integrated Carbon Observation System

ICOS is a European research infrastructure providing high-quality European climate data on greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, as well as carbon fluxes between the atmosphere, the land surface and the oceans. SMHI is since 2020 a research partner within ICOS Sweden, which is funded by the Swedish Research Council.

The aim of ICOS is to construct, equip, and operate a network of standardized, long-term, high precision integrated monitoring stations for greenhouse gas concentrations and fluxes. The focus is to better understand the ecosystems and climate through observations and research that can be done based on these results, e.g. climate research.

Project partners (within ICOS Sweden): Lund University (host), University of Gothenburg, Uppsala University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Funding: Swedish Research Council
Project duration: 2021– 2024
Contacts at SMHI: Madeleine Nilsson & Iréne WåhlströmRead more about ICOSRead more about ICOS-National Network SwedenRead more about ICOS-Ocean Thematic Centre


Indicator development for eutrophication with a focus on spring chlorophyll-a blooms and bottom oxygen 2022–2024

The eutrophication status is being regularly assessed in the Baltic Sea through several directives and conversions that require robust scientific data to adequately qualify the marine health.

Within the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), an important part for undertake this work is the development of indicators, which address the efficiency of established measure to mitigate eutrophication in marine areas. In this context, this project will present a proposal for two main indicators, namely bottom oxygen and chlorophyll-a, that describe the response of the ecosystem to eutrophication in mainly the western Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. For this purpose an improved tool to assess spatially resolved maps using both observations and modelling results is under development.

SMHI is leading this project and testing the proposed indicators with modelling data.

Partners:  SYKE, HELCOM
Funding: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management​​​​​​​ (SwAM)
Project duration: 2020–2024
Contact SMHI: Itzel Ruvalcaba BaroniRead more about the project (HELCOM).


ISAP – Invasive Species Action Plan

The project aims both to develop practical advice and descriptions of cost-effective in-situ methods for eradication and control of invasive alien species for stakeholders and end-users as well as to increase knowledge and develop a new methodology to be used by authorities and stakeholders in managing marine invasive alien species in Swedish coastal areas. We will use two invasive model species and a well-defined geographical area (Tjörn-Orust fjord area) in order to focus our research and develop a high degree of detailed local and species knowledge.

SMHI's role in the project is to carry out dispersion analysis to estimate the connectivity and the dispersion risk between different areas.

Partners: Chalmers University of Technology (CTH), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Göteborgs Marinbiologiska Laboratorium (GMBL).
Funding: ISAP is part of a research program that during 2021 received funding from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, FORMAS , and the Swedish Transport Administration.
Duration: 2021 – 2025 
Contact at SMHI: Sam Fredriksson
​​​​​​​Read more about ISAP


JERICO DS – Joint European Research Infrastructure of Coastal Observatories Design Study

JERICO is about improving the understanding of underlying processes and observations in European coastal marine areas with the objective to build a pan-European Research Infrastructure (RI) providing high-quality marine data, expertise, services, facilities and observation systems. For JERICO to progress towards a structured operational European RI supported by the EU Member States (and associated members) and the EC, the JERICO-DS project proposes a design for a state-of-the-art, fit-for-purpose, visionary and sustainable observational European RI.

SMHI is co-leader of WP3 on e-Infrastructure technical design and data integration strategy.

Funding: European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreements No 871153 and 951799
Duration: Oct 2020 – Jan 2024
Contact at SMHI: Emilie Breviere
Read more about Jerico


Marine Strategic Framework Directive D7 2023

Short project to assist the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) in their initial assessment of Marine Strategic Framework Directive (MSFD) descriptor D7: Physical impact. SMHI must produce text that can be included in the initial assessment and provide proposals for long-term work with relevance for descriptor D7.

SMHI contributes with expert competence within physical impacts.

Funding: SwAM
Duration: 2023
Contact at SMHI: Lars Arneborg


ORUST50: High-resolution ocean-modeling of the Orust-Tjörn fjord System

SMHI develops a high-resolution regional ocean model (50 m resolution) for the Orust-Tjörn Fjord system in order to test how high-resolution ocean models can be used for ecosystem based management, and enhance the understanding of the physical water processes within Swedish fjords. It is capable of reproducing the variability within the system. In a case study, SMHI investigates the importance of tides, density variations, sea level and winds for the exchange of water between the fjords. The model is also used together with a dispersion model to study dispersion of , e.g., algae and larvae between different parts of the system and between the coastal and offshore waters.

SMHI performs and manage the work in this project.

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM).
ClimeMarine, Swedish Research Council Formas within the framework of the National Research Programme for Climate (grant no. 2017-01949).
CoCliME: Co-development of Climate Services for adaptation to changing Marine Ecosystems supported by ERA4CS, an ERA-NET initiated by JPI Climate and funded by EPA (IE), ANR (FR), BMBF (DE), UEFISCDI (RO), RCN (NO) and FORMAS (SE), with co-funding by the European Union (Grant 690462). Formas grant number was 2017-01737.

Duration: 2018 – ongoing
Contact at SMHI: Sandra-Esther Brunnabend


Oxygenation – model study: Evaluate restoration of the Baltic Sea by oxygenation of anoxic bottoms

The aim with the project is to investigate if pumping oxygen rich water to the deep will decrease the re-circulation of phosphorus and speed  up a permanent improvement of the environment state in the Baltic Sea.

The project is managed and performed by SMHI.

Funding: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management​​​​​​​ (SwAM)
Project duration: July 2020 – December 2023
Contact SMHI: Lars Arneborg


Working groups within The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

SMHI take part as experts within different working groups of The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The aim of these working groups is for international scientists to work together to advance understanding and management of marine systems.

Team members form the Research and Development department at SMHI participate in:

  • Working Group on Integrative, Physical-biological and Ecosystem Modelling – (WGIPEM)
  • Joint ICES/IOC Working Group on Harmful Algal Bloom Dynamics (WGHABD)

Project duration: Continously
Contacts at SMHI: Elin Almroth-Rosell & Bengt KarlssonRead more about WGIPEM (ICES)
Read more about WGHABD (ICES)​​​​​​​
Read more about WGHABD (Unesco)

Vattenförvaltningen is an internal project at the SMHI aimed at maintaining and developing good services at The vattenweb website supports the management of Swedish water bodies by making measurements and model data available to decision makers and the public. Research topics are sustainable use of water resources, contaminants, and good ecological status.

Vetenskapsrådet Fyrskepp aim to reconstruct and project Baltic Sea climate variability in the period 1850-2100 using long records of recently digitized lightship data and employing a high-resolution regional climate model for attribution studies. Period: 2013-

Vetenskapsrådet Baltic natural oxygenation project will determine effects of natural oxygenation of previously anoxic bottoms of the Baltic proper, and the subsequent return to anoxia, on the capacity of sediments to recycle/sequester biogenic elements.