ECOSUPPORT - Advanced modeling tool for scenarios of the Baltic Sea ECOsystem to SUPPORT decision making

Coordinator: Markus Meier, SMHI, Sweden.

This project addresses the urgent need for policy-relevant information onthe combined futureimpacts of climate change and industrial & agricultural practices in the Baltic Sea (BS) catchment on the Baltic Sea ecosystem.

The main aim
is to provide a multi-model system tool to support decision makers. The tool is based upon scenarios from 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.

Our concept
is to achieve the above aim is built on the confidence of the models´ capacity to simulate changing climate and includes several steps:

(i) assessing the predictive skills of the models by comparing observed and simulated past climate variability (i.e. quantification of model uncertainties) and analyzing causes of observed variations;

(ii) performing multi-model ensemble simulations of the marine ecosystem for 1850-2100 forced by reconstructions of past climate and by various future greenhouse gas emission and air- and riverborne nutrient load scenarios (ranging from a pessimistic business-as-usual to the most optimistic case);

(iii) analyzing projections of the future Baltic Sea ecosystem using a probabilistic approach accounting for uncertainties caused by biases of regional and global climate models (RCMs and GCMs), lack of process description in state-of-the-art ecosystem models, unknown greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient loadings, and natural variability;

(iv) assessing impacts of climate change on the marine biota (e.g. effects of ocean acidification), biodiversity and fish populations (with focus on cod, sprat and herring);

(v) calculating the costs of climate change;

(vi) generating a free-access data base of scenario model results and tools to access the database; and

(vii) disseminating the project results to stakeholders, decision makers (e.g. via the Helsinki Commission - HELCOM) and the public (webpage, newsletters, seminars, conferences, etc.).

The objectives are to:
calculate the combined effects of changing climate and changing human activity (nutrient load reductions [runoff and airborne], coastal management, fisheries) on the Baltic Sea ecosystem, assess the resulting socioeconomic impacts, perform time-dependent scenario simulations from present climate until 2100, and quantify the uncertainties around these future projections, support decision makers and stakeholders with a tool providing them with relevant and readily accessible information that will help to raise wider public awareness, conduct focused assessments of local-scale impacts of changing climate on coastal areas (with focus on the Gulf of Finland , Vistula Lagoon, and the Polish coastal waters).

The expected outcome is an advanced modeling tool for scenario simulations of the whole marine ecosystem that can underpin and inform management strategies to ensure water quality standards, biodiversity and fish stocks.

Link to the official project homepage

Link to the papers in the AMBIO special issue ECOSUPPORT – Different Ecosystem Drivers Under Future Climate Scenarios in the Baltic Sea and other ECOSUPPORT publications.

The project summary can be downloaded herePDF (pdf, 2.4 MB)

More information about the project can be downloaded here

A new brochure (published October 2011) about the ECOSUPPORT project and its main findings can be downloaded here. PDF (pdf, 2.4 MB)

Project scheme

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Web editor: Marmar Nekoro

Updated: 2016-03-07
Baltic Nest Institute Sweden
Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden, +46-8-16 37 18
Baltic Nest Institute Denmark
Aarhus University, Fredriksborgsvej 399
DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark, +45 4630 1200
Baltic Nest Institute Finland
Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140
FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland, + 358 20 610 123