Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets
The aim of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets1 is to provide information on the recent state of and trends in the Baltic marine environment. The Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets are compiled by scientists in various research institutes around the Baltic Sea.
At present, the Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets inform about:
- hydrographic variations (temperature, salinity, inflows and runoff) which largely regulate the marine life
- inputs and concentrations of nutrients and hazardous substances
- plankton blooms and species composition
- illegal oil discharges.
A Baltic Sea Environment fact sheet presents information using data obtained by HELCOM monitoring programmes:
- Pollution Load Compilations (PLC-Air and PLC-Water)
- Cooperative Monitoring in the Baltic Marine Environment - COMBINE
- Monitoring of Radioactive Sustances (MORS)
In addition to these fact sheets, the HELCOM is working to develop core indicators that measure progress towards reaching the ecological objectives defined in the Baltic Sea Action Plan. So far a demonstration set of core eutrophication indicators has been adopted, and work is on-going under the HELCOM CORESET project to develop indicators for hazardous substances and biodiversity. The HELCOM Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets provide supporting data and information for these core indicators.
Indicators try to simplify a complex reality. One indicator does not explain the complex environmental problems. Each individual indicator explains something about the one issue it represents but practically nothing about the larger features or the system as a whole. Therefore the information presented in the Baltic Sea Environment Reports are at times combined in thematic and periodic assessments (e.g. the Initial holistic assessment of the ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea (2010) and the Fifth Baltic Sea Pollution Load Compilation (2012)) which provide a more holistic approach to the complex environmental problems and their reasons.
1 The 17th meeting of the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Group (HELCOM MONAS 17/2012) decided that "HELCOM indicator fact sheets" should be renamed as “Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets” (BSEFSs) to differentiate them from HELCOM Core Indicators, which are used for follow-up of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.