Holocene saline water inflow changes into the Baltic Sea, ecosystem responses and future scenarios

INFLOW final report
INFLOW briefing on key results
Year 2 progress report
Year 1 progress report

For more relevant publications, visit (category BONUS+ reports).

Begin date 1.1.2009

End date 31.12.2011

Grant: 1 582 280€

Photo by Aarno Kotilainen
Onset of the brackish water (Litorina)
phase of the Baltic Sea seen in the sediment.
Environmental conditions of the Baltic Sea’s (BS) ecosystem strongly depend on meteorological forcing over the area and adjacent NE Atlantic. It affects e.g. regional hydrography and saline water inflow from the North Sea into the BS. These changes are recorded in the BS sediments. We aim to identify forcing mechanisms of environmental changes of the BS, to differentiate natural variability and changing patterns due to man-made activity, by studying these sediment archives. In addition we will provide scenarios of the future development of the BS.

We will study ongoing and past changes in both surface and deep water conditions and their timing by means of multi-proxy studies. We use sediment proxy data along transect from the marine Skagerrak to the freshwater dominated northern BS. We have identified following aims: (i) Quantification of the relationships between available long term instrumental data and signatures of recent sediments; (ii) Extension of these studies to longer time scales (past 6000 years); (iii) Link these BS records to climatic data from the wider North Atlantic realm in order to identify the forcing mechanisms of environmental changes; (iv) Produce model simulations for selected time slices back to 6000 years. Proxy reconstructions will be compared to results from model simulations. We will use these evaluated models to provide selected scenarios of impact of naturally and human induced climate change on the BS ecosystem at the end of the 21st century.


Sediment multi-proxy study, ecosystem modelling, climate change scenarios, saline water inflow, redox conditions

List of Participants and Principal Scientists

Geological Survey of Finland, Finland

Aarno Kotilainen (Coordinator)

Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Germany

Thomas Neumann

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark

Antoon Kuijpers

Lund University, Sweden

Ian Snowball

Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden

Markus Meier

University of Szczecin, Poland

Andrzej Witkowski

Unifob AS, Norway

Eystein Jansen

University of Helsinki, Finland

Juha Karhu

A. P. Karpinsky Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI), Russia

Mikhail Spiridonov

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