Chapter

Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin

Part of the series Regional Climate Studies pp 453-477

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Date:

Causes of Regional Change—Land Cover

  • Marie-José GaillardAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Environmental Science, Linnaeus University Email author 
  • , Thomas KleinenAffiliated withMax Planck Institute for Meteorology
  • , Patrick SamuelssonAffiliated withRossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
  • , Anne Birgitte NielsenAffiliated withDepartment of Geology, Lund University
  • , Johan BerghAffiliated withDepartment of Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU
  • , Jed KaplanAffiliated withInstitute of Earth Surface Dynamics, IDYST, University of Lausanne
  • , Anneli PoskaAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University
  • , Camilla SandströmAffiliated withDepartment of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU
  • , Gustav StrandbergAffiliated withRossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
    • , Anna-Kari TrondmanAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Environmental Science, Linnaeus University
    • , Anna WramnebyAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University

Abstract

Anthropogenic land-cover change (ALCC) is one of the few climate forcings for which the net direction of the climate response over the last two centuries is still not known. The uncertainty is due to the often counteracting temperature responses to the many biogeophysical effects and to the biogeochemical versus biogeophysical effects. Palaeoecological studies show that the major transformation of the landscape by anthropogenic activities in the southern zone of the Baltic Sea basin occurred between 6000 and 3000/2500 cal year BP. The only modelling study of the biogeophysical effects of past ALCCs on regional climate in north-western Europe suggests that deforestation between 6000 and 200 cal year BP may have caused significant change in winter and summer temperature. There is no indication that deforestation in the Baltic Sea area since AD 1850 would have been a major cause of the recent climate warming in the region through a positive biogeochemical feedback. Several model studies suggest that boreal reforestation might not be an effective climate warming mitigation tool as it might lead to increased warming through biogeophysical processes.

Keywords

land use land cover Holocene land cover-climate interactions climate forcing Baltic Sea catchment area Europe northern hemisphere