Climate change

The main cause of climate change is, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) caused by human activity, such as the use of fossil fuels and the depletion of forests. According to IPCC`s worst case scenario, Earth´s temperature will rise about 4 degrees Celsius before 2100, while the most optimistic scenario shows a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius.

The warming effect is thought to be faster in Finland and in other northern areas compared to the Earth´s southern parts. In Finland, global warming will affect the winter climate more than the summer climate, which means winters with less snow, but with more precipitation that might cause flooding.

Image 1: Winter in the Kvarkens archipelago

Image 2: Flooding in Helsinki

Climate change affects both the salinity and the temperature of the Kvarken water. Changes in wind patterns caused by climate change also decrease the amount of salt water entering Kvarken, while the changes in water temperature might have catastrophic effects on marine species and their habitats. For example, climate change might threaten the survival of the Blue mussel (Mytilus sp. edulis) and the Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), which probably will disturb the whole ecosystem in Kvarken. Further, the warmer water temperatures might make Kvarken more welcoming of invasive species.

Sources

Lundberg, C. et al (2012). Undervattensmiljö i Norra Östersjön – Viktigt att tänka på vid havsnära planering. Närings-, trafik- och miljöcentralen, Helsingfors.

Putkuri, E., Lindholm, M. & Lyytimäki, J. (red.) (2008). Finland - Miljöns tillstånd 2008. Finlands miljöcentral (SYKE), Helsingfors.