BEAR in mind...
One of the goals of Baltic Earth when it inherited BALTEX, was the establishment of assessment reports of the current state of the science in different research fields in the Baltic Earth context, similar to the BACC approach for climate change. Now, 6 years after the founding of Baltic Earth, and 2 international conferences, 23 workshops/seminars/sessions and 5 summer schools later, a series of extensive assessment reports, called BEAR (Baltic Earth Assessment Reports), is underway. For each of the Baltic Earth Grand Challenges, a team of experts from the Baltic Earth network is wrapping up the current state of knowledge in the respective research fields, including uncertainties and gaps in knowledge. For each report, a lead author (mostly from the corresponding Working Group) is responsible for the coordination of the writing process, but many co-authors will be invited to contribute to the respective reports. In addition to the Grand Challenges, more topics will be assessed due to the great relevance for current research in the Baltic Sea region.
- Salinity dynamics of the Baltic Sea Grand Challenge 1 (Andreas Lehmann et al.)
- Biogeochemistry of the Baltic Sea Grand Challenge 2 (Karol Kulinski et al.)
- Natural hazards and extreme events in the Baltic Sea region Grand Challenge 3 (Anna Rutgersson et al.)
- Sea level dynamics and coastal erosion in the Baltic Sea region Grand Challenge 4 (Ralf Weisse et al.)
- Human impacts and their interactions in the Baltic Sea region Grand Challenge 6 (Marcus Reckermann et al.)
- Climate change and the Baltic Sea ecosystem Baltic Earth topic (Markku Viitasalo)
- Coupled regional Earth system modelling in the Baltic Sea region Baltic Earth topic (Matthias Gröger et al.)
- Atmospheric regional climate projections for the Baltic Sea Region until 2100 Baltic Earth topic (Christensen et al.)
- Oceanographic regional climate projections for the Baltic Sea until 2100 Baltic Earth topic (Meier et al.)
- Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Region: A Summary Baltic Earth topic (Meier et al.)
Grand Challenge 5 ("Regional variability of water and energy exchanges in the Baltic Sea region") and the Baltic Earth topic "Climate Observation Systems" will be treated in a later follow-up phase of BEAR.
A special case of the current BEAR reports is the "Summary of current knowledge about past and future climate changes in the Baltic Sea region". This report is the update to BACC II, which had been published as a book in 2015. The upcoming report will add new knowledge and possibly challenge old knowledge, while summarizing but not repeating the valid information from BACC II.
The BEAR reports are envisaged to be published open access as a Special Issue in Earth System Dynamics, in late 2021, after a rigorous external peer-review process. The reports will be established following the BACC principles, "by synthesis of material drawn comprehensively from the available scientifically legitimate literature (e.g. peer reviewed literature, conference proceedings, reports of scientific institutes). Studies whose results and conclusions cannot be reconciled with a consensus view but which are of a good scientific and technical standard should be taken into account. The assessment should thus encompass the knowledge about what scientists agree on but also identify cases of disagreement or knowledge gaps".
As for the previous two BACC endeavours, there is a close collaboration with HELCOM, the intergovernmental organization for the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. HELCOM will integrate climate change aspects into their work, e.g. into the update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. Moreover, HELCOM will publish an easily accessible climate “Fact Sheet” for practitioners, decision makers and the public. Baltic Earth scientists are part of the joint expert network on climate change by HELCOM and Baltic Earth (EN CLIME) which is responsible for the scientific information of the fact sheets. EN CLIME largely draws its information on BACC, BACC II and the BEAR reports.