A comprehensive reconstruction of the Baltic Sea state from 1850 to 2006 is presented: driving forces are reconstructed and the evolution of the hydrography and biogeochemical cycles is simulated using the model BALTSEM.
Reproducing dynamics of abiotic factors with BALTSEM
Driven by high resolution atmospheric forcing fields (HiResAFF), BALTSEM reproduces dynamics of salinity, temperature, and maximum ice extent. Nutrient loads have been increasing with a noteworthy acceleration from the 1950s until peak values around 1980 followed by a decrease continuing up to present.
BALTSEM shows a delayed response to the massive load increase with most eutrophic conditions occurring only at the end of the simulation. This is accompanied by an intensification of the pelagic cycling driven by a shift from spring to summer primary production.
Future water quality continues to deteriorate
The simulation indicates that no improvement in water quality of the Baltic Sea compared to its present state can be expected from the decrease in nutrient loads in recent decades.