Baltic Experts Bridge Science and Policy on Climate Change
7 September 2012, Tallinn, Estonia – Around a hundred international scientists and environmental policy-makers are discussing today climate change in the Baltic Sea region, in a conference organized by BALTEX (Baltic Sea Experiment) and HELCOM. During the first day of the conference yesterday, the scientists behind the second BALTEX Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin (BACC) presented the latest available scientific information on historical, current and projected future climate change.
Climate change with its foreseen impacts on the Baltic Sea ecosystem may undermine or counteract the efforts that the Baltic coastal countries are taking to reach good environmental status of the sea by 2021, as agreed in the 2007 HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
“It is of utmost importance that Baltic Sea protection measures are built upon the most recent research data and take into account foreseen climate change impacts. This conference provides an excellent opportunity for the scientific community to link up with managers and policy makers giving much needed insight to the successful protection of the Baltic Sea, including the review of the HELCOM action plan”, says Maria Laamanen, HELCOM Professional Secretary.
At the last HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Moscow in 2010, participants reiterated their awareness on climate change having a significant impact on the Baltic Sea ecosystem, and agreed on the need for supplementary and possibly stricter actions. The next Ministerial Meeting in the autumn of 2013 provides a good opportunity to start specifying such actions.
The Baltic Sea region has in recent decades warmed up faster than the global average. There has been a warming trend over the 20th century. Much of the sea bottom and water column in the deep basins are currently deprived of oxygen and this condition also occurs in coastal areas. The current size of the area with oxygen shortage is larger than Denmark. Warming of the sea water causes further deterioration of the oxygen conditions.
HELCOM will publish a thematic assessment on the climate change and its effects on the Baltic Sea based on the results of the BACC II report. This assessment aims at providing the most relevant up-to-date information targeting the Baltic decision-makers and will be submitted to the ministers of the environment as supporting information at the 2013 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting.
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Note for editors:
The research focus of BALTEX (the Baltic Sea Experiment) is primarily on the hydrological cycle and the exchange of energy between the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth, because they control and regulate the climate in a fundamental manner. The study region of BALTEX is the Baltic Sea and its catchment area, creating specific demands on models and scientific concepts.
BALTEX was launched in 1992 as a Continental-scale Experiment of the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment within the World Climate Research Program.
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The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.
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For more information, please contact:
Ms. Maria Laamanen
Tel: +358 (0)46 850 9198
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645
Ms. Johanna Laurila
Tel: +358 (0) 40 523 8988
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645