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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Human impacts and their interactions in the Baltic Sea region

Reckermann, Marcus; Omstedt, Anders; Soomere, Tarmo; Aigars, Juris; Akhtar, Naveed; Beldowska, Magdalena; Beldowski, Jacek; Cronin, Tom; Czub, Michal; Eero, Margit; Hyytiainen, Kari Petri; Jalkanen, Jukka-Pekka; Kiessling, Anders; Kjellstrom, Erik; Kulinski, Karol; Larsen, Xiaoli Guo; McCrackin, Michelle; Meier, H. E. Markus; Oberbeckmann, Sonja; Parnell, Kevin;
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Coastal environments, in particular heavily populated semi-enclosed marginal seas and coasts like the Baltic Sea region, are strongly affected by human activities. A multitude of human impacts, including climate change, affect the different compartments of the environment, and these effects interact with each other. As part of the Baltic Earth Assessment Reports (BEAR), we present an inventory and discussion of different human-induced factors and processes affecting the environment of the Baltic Sea region, and their interrelations. Some are naturally occurring and modified by human activities (i.e. climate change, coastal processes, hypoxia, acidification, submarine groundwater discharges, marine ecosystems, non-indigenous species, land use and land cover), some are completely human-induced (i.e. agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, river regulations, offshore wind farms, shipping, chemical contamination, dumped warfare agents, marine litter and microplastics, tourism, and coastal management), and they are all interrelated to different degrees. We present a general description and analysis of the state of knowledge on these interrelations. Our main insight is that climate change has an overarching, integrating impact on all of the other factors and can be interpreted as a background effect, which has different implications for the other factors. Impacts on the environment and the human sphere can be roughly allocated to anthropogenic drivers such as food production, energy production, transport, industry and economy. The findings from this inventory of available information and analysis of the different factors and their interactions in the Baltic Sea region can largely be transferred to other comparable marginal and coastal seas in the world.

Published in

Earth System Dynamics
2022, volume: 13, number: 1, pages: 1-80

Authors' information

Reckermann, Marcus
Max Planck Society
Omstedt, Anders
University of Gothenburg
Soomere, Tarmo
Tallinn University of Technology
Soomere, Tarmo
Estonian Academy of Sciences
Aigars, Juris
Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology
Akhtar, Naveed
Max Planck Society
Beldowska, Magdalena
University of Gdansk
Beldowski, Jacek
Polish Academy of Sciences
Cronin, Tom
DTU Wind Energy
Czub, Michal
Polish Academy of Sciences
Eero, Margit
Technical University of Denmark
Hyytiainen, Kari Petri
University of Helsinki
Jalkanen, Jukka-Pekka
Finnish Meteorological Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Kjellstrom, Erik
Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
Kulinski, Karol
Polish Academy of Sciences
Xiaoli Guo, Larsen
DTU Wind Energy
McCrackin, Michelle
Stockholm University
Meier, H. E. Markus
Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
Meier, H. E. Markus
Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende Leibniz Institut fur Ostseeforschung Warnemunde
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Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water
SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences
Climate Research

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