ECOSUPPORT (Advanced tool for scenarios of the Baltic ECOsystem to SUPPORT decision making) is a BONUS funded project to address the urgent need for policy relevant information on the combined future impacts of climate change and industrial and agricultural practices in the Baltic Sea catchment on the Baltic Sea ecosystem.
The project involves a consortium of 11 research groups from seven countries in the Baltic Sea region.
Multi-model system tool
The researchers developed an interdisciplinary multi-model system tool to demonstrate how the Baltic Sea ecosystems may respond to the combined future impacts of possible climate change and continued eutrophication.
The model combined an existing state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere-ice-ocean-land surface model for the Baltic Sea catchment area, marine physical-biogeochemical models of differing complexity, a food web model, statistical fish population models, economic calculations, and new data detailing climate effects on marine biota.
* How will future climate influence the Baltic Sea ecosystem and how can scenarios developed by scientists help support decision making?
* Will nutrient load reductions under current legislation be sufficient in a future changing climate?
These are examples of two questions that the researchers in ECOSUPPORT try to answer with the help of the developed multi-model system tool.
Scenarios for the future of the Baltic Sea
ECOSUPPORT has resulted in new understanding of how projected future climate change and nutrient loads to the Baltic Sea will influence its ecosystem, as well as what effects nutrient load reductions performed under current legislation will have on water quality at the end of the century.
They can thus answer the questions above, showing that water temperatures and runoff will increase by the end of the 21st century, while salinity decreases. The impact of climate change on the Baltic biogeochemistry might be significant, and alongside eutrophication add stress to the ecosystem.
They also show that nutrient load reductions are most likely not sufficient to improve the water quality at the end of the century and in order to reach current environmental targets, such as those in the Baltic Sea Action Plan, larger reductions will be necessary compared to present climate.
Below are links to the articles where BNI researchers have contributed:
The entire special issue of Ambio is available here