Including a climate perspective in Swedish marine planning

How the climate affects the sea is an important aspect of sustainable marine planning. The latest calculations of how a changed climate may affect the Baltic Sea and the North Sea will be incorporated into Sweden’s current marine planning.

In Sweden, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management leads the work involved in drawing up plans for using the sea in a sustainable manner, both now and in the future. The agency has developed a tool called Symphony, which calculates the combined impact on the marine ecosystem of all the different activities carried out.

Symphony will be updated with the latest information about how a changing climate may affect the sea in the future, and how this in turn affects the ecosystem. This will be done using calculations carried out by SMHI.

“We will then be able to identify areas that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and other forms of environmental impact,” says Linus Hammar, a case manager at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water. “This is important for strategic planning, remedial efforts and preservation issues in the Baltic Sea.”

Project participants ClimeMarine
SMHI’s Iréne Wåhlström, the University of Gothenburg’s Per Jonsson, and SMHI’s Elin Almroth Rosell are working on the ClimeMarine project. The project will incorporate the latest calculations of how a changed climate may affect the Baltic Sea and the North Sea into Sweden’s current marine planning.

Dialogue facilitates design

The project includes contact with municipalities and county administrative boards along the coast, to ensure that they can make use of the climate information.

“There is no doubt that climate change will hit coastal communities hard and affect the sea in various ways,” explains Iréne Wåhlström, a researcher at SMHI and project manager for ClimeMarine. “They require extremely detailed information. At the same time, we know that there is uncertainty when it comes to assumed developments that we must take into account and convey in the best possible way. Here, user dialogue is an excellent tool for ensuring understanding about which information is needed and how it should be designed.”

ClimeMarine has been financed by Formas as part of the National Research Programme on Climate.