“The Baltic Sea Climate Change Fact Sheet provides a summary for policy makers of the latest scientific knowledge on how climate change is currently affecting the Baltic Sea and about what we can expect to happen in the future,” said Prof. Markus Meier from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde and Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, and chair of the Baltic Earth Science Steering Group, who coordinated the publication as leading authority on climate change in the Baltic Sea and editor for the section on direct parameters.
“It is time for climate change to have a greater impact at the policy and strategy level and the authors have done an excellent job of summarizing the most recent climate knowledge for the Baltic Sea. This fact sheet is very valuable as a basis for the on-going update of HELCOM's Baltic Sea Action Plan and we work hard to ensure that the climate issue is well integrated into this and future work,“ said Jonas Pålsson, Senior Analyst at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. Jonas Pålsson has been editor for the section on indirect parameters, impact on ecosystems and human activities.
Climate change will continue to give impact
According to the fact sheet, in the Baltic Sea, water temperature and sea level will rise, and sea ice cover will decrease – in turn affecting ecosystems and marine species, as well as maritime activities such as shipping, fisheries and aquaculture.
“Water temperatures of the Baltic Sea have been increasing during the past 100 years and are projected to further increase during the 21st century,” said Prof. Meier, adding that the current projections suggest a largely ice-free Baltic Sea during normal winters by the end of the century.
Jointly developed by Baltic Earth and HELCOM, the Fact Sheet contains information about 34 parameters ranging from air and water temperature to marine and coastal ecosystem services, grouped into different categories: energy cycle, water cycle, carbon and nutrient cycles, sea level and wind, biota and ecosystems, human activities, and services.
Easily accessible information
“With the fact sheets, we want to make sure that decision-makers are informed about the latest scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts on the marine environment and maritime activities of the Baltic Sea,” said Jannica Haldin who is overseeing climate change related work at HELCOM.
A complete yet concise and easy to read publication, the fact sheet is meant to help policy makers to include climate change considerations in their work and decisions. More broadly, it also seeks to inform the public about the effects of climate change in the Baltic Sea.
The fact sheet is a summary of the regional counterpart, the Baltic Earth Assessment Reports, of the world wide reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, empowering decision makers to carry out timely, ambitious and coordinated climate action.
About 100 experts from the entire Baltic Sea region were involved in the making of the fact sheet, which was developed by the Joint Climate Change expert network (EN CLIME) run by Baltic Earth and HELCOM.
The Baltic Sea Climate Change Fact Sheet is expected to be updated every seven years.