Contemporary trends in hydrophysical and hydrochemical parameters in the NE Baltic Sea

The current study focuses on trends in hydrophysical and ­chemical parameters (e.g. temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a (Chl a), pH and nutrients) in the Estonian coastal sea and offshore areas in relation to the biogeochemical processes and marine carbon dioxide system of the Baltic Sea. Analysis of 586 time series of these parameters, retrieved during national monitoring activities in 1993–2017, revealed a number of significant trends, which characterize the changes in the northeastern (NE) Baltic Sea. The number of significant trends in the surface layer was slightly higher in the coastal sea area than in the offshore area. No significant (e.g. climate change­related) temperature trends were revealed in the surface layers of the Estonian offshore area. Over a longer time frame (since the 1970s–1980s), the trends in hydrochemical parameters have shown improved ecological conditions in the Estonian coastal waters, however, further improvement is not so obvious. In fact, most nutrient trends were positive over the last two decades. A positive Chl a trend was detected in the offshore area of the Baltic Proper. Dissolved oxygen trends in the bottom layers were all negative. So far, not enough parameters have been monitored for the evaluation of marine acidification processes. Several important recommendations for further improvement of monitoring programmes are suggested.

Lainelaa S.,b, Herkülb K., Leitoc I., Jaanusb A. & Suursaarb Ü., 2020. Contemporary trends in hydrophysical and hydrochemical parameters in the NE Baltic Sea. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences 69(2): 91-108. Article.

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