Advanced modeling tool for scenarios of the Baltic Sea ECO system to SUPPORT decision making (ECOSUPPORT)

Project leader

Funding source

EU Seventh Framework Programme - BONUS ERA-NET Plus

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2009
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 1625305 EUR


This project addresses the urgent need for policy-relevant information on the combined future impacts of climate change and industrial & agricultural practices in the Baltic Sea (BS) catchment on the BS ecosystem.

The main aim is to provide a multi-model system tool to support decision makers. The tool is
based upon scenarios from an existing state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere-ice-ocean-land surface model for the BS catchment area, marine physical-biogeochemical models of differing complexity, a food web model, statistical fish population models, economic calculations, and new data detailing climate effects on marine biota.

Our concept to achieve the above aim is built on the confidence of the models’ capacity to
simulate changing climate and includes several steps: (i) assessing the predictive skills of the models by comparing observed and simulated past climate variability (i.e. quantification of model uncertainties) and analyzing causes of observed variations; (ii) performing multi-model ensemble simulations of the marine ecosystem for 1850-2100 forced by reconstructions of past climate and by various future greenhouse gas emission and air- and riverborne nutrient load scenarios (ranging from a pessimistic business-as-usual to the most optimistic case ); (iii) analyzing projections of the future BS ecosystem using a probabilistic approach accounting for uncertainties caused by biases of regional and global climate models (RCMs and GCMs), lack of process description in state-of-the-art ecosystem models, unknown greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient loadings, and natural variability; (iv) assessing impacts of climate change on the marine biota (e.g. effects of ocean acidification), biodiversity and fish populations (with focus on cod, sprat and herring); (v) calculating the costs of climate change; (vi) generating a free-access data base of scenario model results and tools to access the database; and (vii) disseminating the project results to stakeholders, decision makers (e.g. via the Helsinki Commission - HELCOM) and the public (webpage, newsletters, seminars, conferences, etc.).

The objectives are to:

  1. calculate the combined effects of changing climate and changing human activity (nutrient load reductions [runoff and airborne], coastal management, fisheries) on the BS ecosystem,
  2. assess the resulting socioeconomic impacts,
  3. perform time-dependent scenario simulations from present climate until 2100, and quantify the uncertainties around these future projections,
  4. support decision makers and stakeholders with a tool providing them with relevant and readily accessible information that will help to raise wider public awareness,
  5. conduct focused assessments of local-scale impacts of changing climate on coastal areas (with focus on the Gulf of Finland, Vistula Lagoon, and the Polish coastal waters).

The expected outcome is an advanced modeling tool for scenario simulations of the whole
marine ecosystem that can underpin and inform management strategies to ensure water
quality standards, biodiversity and fish stocks.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:52