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Impact of Climate Change on Biology of the Baltic Sea

  • Markku Viitasalo
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences book series (LNESS, volume 137)

Abstract

Climate change is projected to increase air temperature, precipitation and river runoff in the Baltic Sea area. Consequently sea surface temperature will increase and salinity will gradually decline. Species’ geographical ranges will shift and populations increase or decrease according to the temperature and salinity tolerances of each species. Warming up of the Baltic Sea also favours establishment of non-indigenous species and increases metabolism of organisms. Increasing metabolism speeds up production and growth rates of secondary producers, but it may also enhance the uptake of harmful substances. Other important processes include rising of water level, decreasing pH as well as diminishing of sea ice. These processes will immerse coastal areas, slow down calcification of bivalves and deteriorate living conditions of species associated with sea ice. Increasing runoff of nutrients from land during winter will increase primary production and sedimentation of organic matter, which may enhance anoxia and release of phosphorus from sediments. Increasing temperature and declining salinity will however have complex effects on water stratification that may either worsen or alleviate the oxygen deficiency. In the deepest basins anoxia may become more common, while at mid depths (70–100 m) oxygen conditions may improve. In the Gulf of Bothnia, in contrast, where the rivers carry a large load of dissolved organic carbon, increasing freshwater runoff may shift the system towards a more microbially mediated production, and hence decrease primary production.

Keywords

Phytoplankton Spring Bloom Danish Strait Salinity Decline Sprat Stock Increase Freshwater Runoff 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finnish Environment InstituteMarine Research CentreHelsinkiFinland

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