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2nd Baltic Earth Conference
The Baltic Sea Region in Transition
Helsingor, Denmark
11 - 15 June 2018



Baltic Earth Workshop on

Multiple drivers for Earth system changes in the Baltic Sea region

Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia
26- 27 November 2018

Co-organized by Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Reserach and Tallinn University of Technology in collaboration with with BONUS, HELCOM and ICES

SAVE THE DATE: 26-27 November 2018, Tallinn, Estonia


The Baltic Sea region is characterized by heavy anthropogenic pressures. These include eutrophication, air and water pollution, fisheries, shipping, land cover change, changes in hydrological pathways, acidification and deoxygenation. Regional warming and its associated changes like declining sea ice cover, sea level rise, changing precipitation and runoff patterns as well as changing frequencies and/or amplitudes of high impact events like storm surges, floods, drought and heat periods, all are expected to have an impact on the anthropogenic changes, and maybe vice versa.

It has been shown that the observed environmental changes are often caused by a mixture of interwoven factors, natural and anthropogenic. Each of these factors has a scientific and a societal dimension, which are often interdependent, and which makes the identification of a single or even dominant factor responsible for the change difficult.

The workshop will bring together experts in the different drivers to discuss achievements and prospects in research on the inter-dependencies between the different natural and man-made drivers, with the aim to assess the state of knowledge and develop strategies to alleviate detrimental effects on the environment. The workshop is organized in collaboration with BONUS, HELCOM and ICES. A tentative goal of this workshop is to elaborate particular topics for further research and find a writing team for a White Paper or similar, on the topic of “Multiple Drivers” and their interactions in the face of climate change.

from: Baltic Earth Science Plan 2018


Societal efforts to manage the marine, terrestrial and atmospheric environment of the Baltic Sea region and to promote a sustainable human presence – meeting present societal needs without deleterious impacts on the conditions passed on to future generations – are hampered by an incomplete understanding of the complexity of drivers and their interactions. Moreover, historical factors responsible for the current detrimental state of the environment and ecosystems have been poorly investgated. Such gaps in understanding inhibit reliable predictions of how the marine system and the surrounding land areas, watersheds and atmosphere may respond to projected trends in multiple drivers, or to management interventions.

The Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin (BACCII) focused on regional climate change and its associated impacts, including the documentation of regional detection and attribution efforts, but also highlighted a mixture of interwoven factors, such as eutrophication, pollution, fisheries, hydrographic engineering, shipping, agricultural and forestry practices and land cover change, responsible for the current situation. Current observational datasets, system understanding and available modelling tools are insufficient to ascribe key changes to a single or main factor or to construct credible scenarios of future changes. Two overall problem complexes concern the causes and impacts of eutrophication and climate change. Studies in these areas have traditionally been pursued by separate communities of researchers using different methods and approaches, adopting a diversity of baseline datasets and scenarios, and focusing on different spatial and temporal scales. There has likewise been relatively little collaboration across the science-social science divide, or between terrestrial, freshwater and marine scientists in related fields.

This calls for increased cooperation among researchers with specialized knowledge of different components of the coupled biophysical-societal system of the Baltic Sea region. Key disciplines include meteorology and climate science, oceanography, hydrology, marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecology, microbiology and biogeochemistry, as well as economists, human geographers, political scientists and engineers. A more holistic research needs to be complemented with an identification of key missing datasets on drivers, and their variations over past decades and across the region. A consensus should be sought on the relevant interactions to explore and the key knowledge gaps that need to be filled in order to develop reliable predictive models, applicable at the regional scale of the Baltic Sea.

The different disciplines should be brought together to do syntheses, agree on datasets and data gaps, scope out the system to model with its key components and their interactions, and design model experiments. The development of coupled Earth system models capturing interactions between atmospheric, marine and land compartments/processes, as well as responses to anthropogenic forcings is a key long-term goal. These efforts also contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.





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Last update of this page: 10 July 2018