Climate change & Baltic sea

What are the effects of climate change on the Baltic sea?

The Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin (BACC II, 2015) report provides a lot of information on the effects of climate change on the Baltic Sea. For example, the BACC II summary lists the following physical effects:

  • The Baltic Sea region is warming, and the warming will continue throughout the twenty-first century.

  • So far, and as is likely to be the case for the next few decades, the signal is limited to temperature and to directly related variables, such as ice conditions.

  • Changes in the hydrological cycle are expected to become obvious in the coming decades.

  • Climate model scenarios show a tendency towards future reduced salinity, but due to the biases and uncertainties in the water balance projections, it is still uncertain whether the Baltic Sea will become less or more saline.

Here are some figures picked out of the report (figure captions below).


Fig. 1.2
Change in total precipitation between 1994–2008 and 1979–1993 by season based on SMHI data (Lehmann et al. 2011). a DJF, b MAM, c JJA, d SON. [DJF = December, January, February, MAM = March, April, May, etc.]

Fig. 1.3
Annual anomalies (relative to 1961–1990) and long-term variability in precipitation, temperature, water resources, and flood magnitude in Sweden for 1901–2010. For flood magnitude, the years before 1911 were omitted due to data scarcity (Hellström and Lindström 2008).

Fig. 1.5
Maximum ice-cover extent in the Baltic Sea (MIB), 1720–2012. The dashed bars represent the error range of the early estimates. The 30-year moving average is indicated by two lines representing the error range early in the series, converging into one line when high quality data became available.

Fig. 1.10
Schematic of possible developments in the Baltic Sea area illustrating the findings of Meier et al. (2011), Omstedt et al. (2012), and others. Created by the Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, USA under guidance from A. Omstedt.

Source: von Storch H., Omstedt A., Pawlak J., Reckermann M. (2015) Introduction and Summary. In: The BACC II Author Team (eds) Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin. Regional Climate Studies. Springer, Cham.