Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mathematical model may result in better environment measures for the Baltic

Date:
November 8, 2010
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea has clear negative effects, such as dead bottoms and massive blooms of cyanobacteria. But high plankton production can also have positive effects on acidification. Researchers in Sweden have shown that it is possible to work out the aggregate effects of various environmental measures.

Erik Gustafsson with his measuring equipment.
Credit: University of Gothenburg

Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea has clear negative effects, such as dead bottoms and massive blooms of cyanobacteria. But high plankton production can also have positive effects on acidification. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have shown that it is possible to work out the aggregate effects of various environmental measures.

"The environmental state of the Baltic Sea is affected by many different processes at the same time and on several different time scales. Mathematical models are the only tools that can determine the relative significance of such processes. I have helped develop a mathematical model for the marine systems of the Baltic Sea. Modelling tools of this type can and should make a contribution as a basis for decisions on environmental measures in the area," says Erik Gustafsson at the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Gothenburg.

Since 1960 an average of 50 000 square kilometres of the deep water of the Baltic Sea has been characterised by a condition in which the level of oxygen is so low that higher life forms either abandon the area or suffocate. The area of oxygen-poor regions can vary significantly from year to year, but more than 100 years of measurements show that significantly better conditions prevailed overall in the deep water during the first half of the last century.

Oxygen conditions are governed both by natural processes and by human impact. Because of strong salinity stratification and limited water exchange through the narrow Danish straits, a large part of the deep water of the Baltic Sea is isolated for periods of time. At the same time, oxygen is consumed due to the decomposition of organic matter. As a result of human activities, the quantity of organic matter increased sharply during the second half of the 20th century.

"The overarching question in my thesis concerns the extent to which the deterioration in the environmental state of the Baltic Sea can be linked to changes in climate and to what extent the increased input of nutrients has influenced the situation."

Model results show that natural variations in climate are of great significance for the oxygen status of the deep water of the Baltic Sea over a time scale of decades. On the other hand, no clear effect can be observed over longer time scales. The marked deterioration in oxygen conditions in the deep water during the 20th century is instead largely due to our inputs of nutrients to the sea.

In addition to the physical, chemical and biological processes which are crucial among other things for the plankton dynamics of the area, Gustafsson has included the marine carbon system in his model.

"This means that it is now possible to calculate long-term variations in acidity in the sea. My model thus makes it possible to compare future positive effects of reduced nutrient inputs to the damping effect of eutrophication on acidification. This is an important issue, as the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is expected to increase during the 21st century, and a sharply lowered pH may be of crucial significance to the ecosystem," says Gustafsson.

The thesis The Baltic Sea marine system -- human impact and natural variations was publicly defended on 1 October. Professor Anders Omstedt acted as supervisor.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Mathematical model may result in better environment measures for the Baltic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022160256.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2010, November 8). Mathematical model may result in better environment measures for the Baltic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022160256.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Mathematical model may result in better environment measures for the Baltic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022160256.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins