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Climate change and the marine environment

Ongoing climate change affects the marine environment in several ways: warming; reduced ice extent; rising water levels; changes in run-off from land; acidification resulting from an increased uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. How will these changes affect our oceans in both the shorter and longer term? And how will they affect the marine systems?

Providing answers to these questions will require input from several scientific disciplines and studies of the sea as a system. We are using mathematical models, field observations and experimental studies to understand better the effects of eutrophication, deoxygenation, and other anthropogenic inputs in relation to climate change. Our research focuses chiefly on the sea areas around Europe and in the Polar Regions.

We are developing chemical models to understand how acidification and other changes will affect ocean chemistry, and our experimental work is based on field studies of the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon cycles, the production of halocarbons, and the exchange of chemical substances between sediments and sea water. We have a long tradition of developing methods of analysis, which focus today on the ability of sensors to perform high-resolution measurements in time and space. Sensors are then deployed on buoys and underwater vehicles, and on permanent marine observatories.

We are studying physical processes which are not described sufficiently well in mathematical models today, such as the modification of water bodies by turbulent mixing; interaction with complex topography; and exchange mechanisms between sea and atmosphere, sea and sea bottom, and sea and ice.

We use the sediments in the sea as an environmental archive, which reflect the way climate and environments have changed over time, although the sediments also enable us to study ongoing processes. Sediment cores can provide us with answers on how saline content, temperature and oxygen supply have varied over time, and also pollutants, nutrients, flora and fauna.

We are studying the way the species in the ecosystem are affected by climate and environmental change such as ocean acidification by conducting laboratory experiments where organisms are exposed to the levels of pH, temperature and salinity anticipated in the future. Advanced DNA analysis allows us to map the genetic properties of populations which have already adapted to extreme environments (such as the Baltic), and map the speed with which such adaptation can take place through evolution.

SHIpH - Consequences of emissions of acidic gases from ships

 Skiss med flödesschema över SOx och NOx i atmosfären och havet

This Formas-funded project aims to understand the consequences for the Baltic Sea of the emission of acidic gases from the smokestacks of commercial shipping. In this video David Turner and his colleagues inform about the project.

Page Manager: Annika Wall|Last update: 10/25/2018

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