Erik Gustafsson, foto: Niklas Björling/SU

Erik Gustafsson


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Arbetar vid Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum
Telefon 08-674 71 25
Besöksadress Svante Arrhenius väg 20 F, plan 5
Rum P 522
Postadress Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

My work is mainly focused on model simulations of physical and biogeochemical processes in the Baltic Sea. While my background is in physical oceanography, my primary research area is presently the land-water-air transports and tranformations of carbon. One overarching aim of my research is to elucidate how the Baltic Sea and other marine systems have responded in the past - and could be anticipated to respond in the future - to changes related to for example CO2 emissions, eutrophication, and global warming.


Vetenskapliga artiklar

Fransner, F., Nycander, J., Mörth, C.-M., Humborg, C., Meier, H.E.M., Hordoir, R., Gustafsson, E., Deutsch, B., 2015. Tracing terrestrial DOC in the Baltic Sea - a 3D model study. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, doi:10.1002/2014GB005078.

Gustafsson, E., Omstedt, A., Gustafsson, B.G., 2015. The air-water CO2 exchange of a coastal sea – a sensitivity study on factors that influence the absorption and outgassing of CO2 in the Baltic Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120, doi:10.1002/2015JC010832.

Gustafsson, E., Mörth, C.-M., Humborg, C., Gustafsson, B.G., 2015. Modelling the 13C and 12C isotopes of inorganic and organic carbon in the Baltic Sea. Journal of Marine Systems, 148, 122-130, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2015.02.008.

Gustafsson, E., Wällstedt, T., Humborg, C., Mörth, C.-M., Gustafsson, B.G., 2014. External total alkalinity loads versus internal generation - the influence of non-riverine alkalinity sources in the Baltic Sea. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 28, 1358-1370, doi:10.1002/2014GB004888.

Undeman, E., Gustafsson, E., Gustafsson, B.G., 2014. A novel modeling tool with multi-stressor functionality for organic contaminant transport and fate in the Baltic Sea. Science of The Total Environment 497-498, 382–391, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.07.065.

Schneider, B., Gustafsson, E., Sadkowiak, B., 2014. Control of the mid-summer net community production and nitrogen fixation in the central Baltic Sea: An approach based on pCO2 measurements on a cargo ship. Journal of Marine Systems 136, 1–9, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.03.007.

Gustafsson, E., Deutsch, B., Gustafsson, B.G., Humborg, C., Mörth, C.-M., 2014. Carbon cycling in the Baltic Sea — the fate of allochthonous organic carbon and its impact on air–sea CO2 exchange. Journal of Marine Systems 129, 289–302, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2013.07.005

Omstedt, A., Edman, M., Claremar, B., Frodin, P., Gustafsson, E., Humborg, C., Hägg, H., Mörth, C.-M., Rutgersson, A., Schurges, G., Smith, B., Wällstedt, T., Yurova, A., 2012. Future changes in the Baltic Sea acid-base (pH) and oxygen balances. Tellus B 64, 19586, doi:10.3402/tellusb.v64i0.19586.

Gustafsson, E., 2012. Modelled long-term development of hypoxic area and nutrient pools in the Baltic Proper. Journal of Marine Systems 94, 120–134, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.11.012.

Hansson, D., Gustafsson, E., 2011. Salinity and hypoxia in the Baltic Sea since A.D. 1500. Journal of Geophysical Research 116, doi:10.1029/2010JC006676.

Gustafsson, E., 2010. The Baltic Sea marine system - human impact and natural variations. A133, Göteborg: Earth Sciences Centre, University of Gothenburg.

Omstedt, A., Gustafsson, E., Wesslander, K., 2009. Modelling the uptake and release of carbon dioxide in the Baltic Sea surface water. Continental Shelf Research 29, 870–885, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2009.01.006.

Gustafsson, E., Omstedt, A., 2009. Sensitivity of Baltic Sea deep water salinity and oxygen concentration to variations in physical forcing. Boreal Environment Research 14, 18–30.



Gustafsson, E., 2013. Modelling the marine CO2 system in BALTSEM (Technical Report No. 9), BNI Technical Report Series.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2019. Martijn Hermans (et al.). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 246, 174-196

    The Baltic Sea is characterized by the largest area of hypoxic (oxygen (O2) < 2 mg L−1) bottom waters in the world’s ocean induced by human activities. Natural ventilation of these O2-depleted waters largely depends on episodic Major Baltic Inflows from the adjacent North Sea. In 2014 and 2015, two such inflows led to a strong rise in O2 and decline in phosphate (HPO42−) in waters below 125 m depth in the Eastern Gotland Basin. This provided the opportunity to assess the impact of such re-oxygenation events on the cycles of manganese (Mn), iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P) in the sediment for the first time. We demonstrate that the re-oxygenation induced the activity of sulphur (S)-oxidising bacteria, known as Beggiatoaceae in the surface sediment where a thin oxic and suboxic layer developed. At the two deepest sites, strong enrichments of total Mn and to a lesser extent Fe oxides and P were observed in this surface layer. A combination of sequential sediment extractions and synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy revealed evidence for the abundant presence of P-bearing rhodochrosite and Mn(II) phosphates. In contrast to what is typically assumed, the formation of Fe oxides in the surface sediment was limited. We attribute this lack of Fe oxide formation to the high flux of reductants, such as sulphide, from deeper sediments which allows Fe(II) in the form of FeS to be preserved and restricts the penetration of O2 into the sediment. We estimate that enhanced P sequestration in surface sediments accounts for only ∼5% of water column HPO42− removal in the Eastern Gotland Basin linked to the recent inflows. The remaining HPO42− was transported to adjacent areas in the Baltic Sea. Our results highlight that the benthic O2 demand arising from the accumulation of organic-rich sediments over several decades, the legacy of hypoxia, has major implications for the biogeochemical response of euxinic basins to re-oxygenation. In particular, P sequestration in the sediment in association with Fe oxides is limited. This implies that artificial ventilation projects that aim at removing water column HPO42− and thereby improving water quality in the Baltic Sea will likely not have the desired effect.

  • 2019. Filippa Fransner (et al.). Biogeosciences Discussions 16 (3), 863-879

    Coastal seas receive large amounts of terrestrially derived organic carbon (OC). The fate of this carbon, and its impact on the marine environment, is however poorly understood. Here we combine underway CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) measurements with coupled 3D hydrodynamical-biogeochemical modelling to investigate whether remineralization of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (tDOC) can explain CO2 supersaturated surface waters in the Gulf of Bothnia, a subarctic estuary. We find that a substantial remineralization of tDOC, and that a strong tDOC induced light attenuation dampening the primary production, is required to reproduce the observed CO2 supersaturated waters in the nearshore areas. A removal rate of tDOC of the order of one year, estimated in a previous modelling study in the same area, gives a good agreement between modelled and observed pCO2. The remineralization rate is on the same order as bacterial degradation rates calculated from published incubation experiments, suggesting that this remineralization could be caused by bacterial degradation. Furthermore, the observed high pCO2 values during the ice covered season argues against photochemical degradation as the main removal mechanism. All of the remineralized tDOC is outgassed to the atmosphere in the model, turning the northernmost part of the Gulf of Bothnia to a source of atmospheric CO2.

  • 2019. Erik Gustafsson (et al.). Biogeosciences 16 (2), 437-456

    Enhanced release of alkalinity from the seafloor, principally driven by anaerobic degradation of organic matter under low-oxygen conditions and associated secondary redox reactions, can increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) buffering capacity of seawater and therefore oceanic CO2 uptake. The Baltic Sea has undergone severe changes in oxygenation state and total alkalinity (TA) over the past decades. The link between these concurrent changes has not yet been investigated in detail. A recent system-wide TA budget constructed for the past 50 years using BALTSEM, a coupled physical-biogeochemical model for the whole Baltic Sea area, revealed an unknown TA source. Here we use BALTSEM in combination with observational data and one-dimensional reactive transport modelling of sedimentary processes in the Fårö Deep, a deep Baltic Sea basin, to test whether sulfate reduction coupled to iron (Fe) sulfide burial can explain the missing TA source in the Baltic Proper. We calculated that this burial can account for 26% of the missing source in this basin, with the remaining TA possibly originating from unknown river inputs or submarine groundwater discharge. We also show that temporal variability in the input of Fe to the sediments since the 1970s drives changes in sulfur burial in the Fårö Deep, suggesting that Fe availability is the ultimate limiting factor for TA generation under anoxic conditions. The implementation of projected climate change and two nutrient load scenarios for the 21st century in BALTSEM shows that reducing nutrient loads will improve deep water oxygen conditions, but at the expense of lower surface water TA concentrations, CO2 buffering capacities and faster acidification. When these changes additionally lead to a decrease in Fe inputs to the sediment of the deep basins, anaerobic TA generation will be reduced even further, thus exacerbating acidification. This work highlights that Fe dynamics play a key role in the release of TA from sediments where Fe sulfide formation is limited by Fe availability, as exemplified for the Baltic Sea. Moreover, it demonstrates that burial of Fe sulfides should be included in TA budgets of low oxygen basins.

  • 2018. H. E. Markus Meier (et al.). Frontiers in Marine Science 5

    To assess the impact of the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) on the future environmental status of the Baltic Sea, available uncoordinated multi-model ensemble simulations for the Baltic Sea region for the twenty-first century were analyzed. 

    The scenario simulations were driven by regionalized global general circulation model (GCM) data using several regional climate system models and forced by various future greenhouse gas emission and air- and river-borne nutrient load scenarios following either reference conditions or the BSAP. To estimate uncertainties in projections, the largest ever multi-model ensemble for the Baltic Sea comprising 58 transient simulations for the twenty-first century was assessed. Data from already existing simulations from different projects including regionalized GCM simulations of the third and fourth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based on the corresponding Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects, CMIP3 and CMIP5, were collected.

    Various strategies to weigh the ensemble members were tested and the results for ensemble mean changes between future and present climates are shown to be robust with respect to the chosen metric. Although (1) the model simulations during the historical period are of different quality and (2) the assumptions on nutrient load levels during present and future periods differ between models considerably, the ensemble mean changes in biogeochemical variables in the Baltic proper with respect to nutrient load reductions are similar between the entire ensemble and a subset consisting only of the most reliable simulations.

    Despite the large spread in projections, the implementation of the BSAP will lead to a significant improvement of the environmental status of the Baltic Sea according to both weighted and unweighted ensembles. The results emphasize the need for investigating ensembles with many members and rigorous assessments of models’ performance.

  • 2018. Jacob Carstensen (et al.). Global Biogeochemical Cycles 32 (3), 497-513

    Coastal pH and total alkalinity are regulated by a diverse range of local processes superimposed on global trends of warming and ocean acidification, yet few studies have investigated the relative importance of different processes for coastal acidification. We describe long-term (1972-2016) and seasonal trends in the carbonate system of three Danish coastal systems demonstrating that hydrological modification, changes in nutrient inputs from land, and presence/absence of calcifiers can drastically alter carbonate chemistry. Total alkalinity was mainly governed by conservative mixing of freshwater (0.73-5.17mmolkg(-1)) with outer boundary concentrations (similar to 2-2.4mmolkg(-1)), modulated seasonally and spatially (similar to 0.1-0.2mmolkg(-1)) by calcifiers. Nitrate assimilation by primary production, denitrification, and sulfate reduction increased total alkalinity by almost 0.6mmolkg(-1) in the most eutrophic system during a period without calcifiers. Trends in pH ranged from -0.0088year(-1) to 0.021year(-1), the more extreme of these mainly driven by salinity changes in a sluice-controlled lagoon. Temperature increased 0.05 degrees Cyr(-1) across all three systems, which directly accounted for a pH decrease of 0.0008year(-1). Accounting for mixing, salinity, and temperature effects on dissociation and solubility constants, the resulting pH decline (0.0040year(-1)) was about twice the ocean trend, emphasizing the effect of nutrient management on primary production and coastal acidification. Coastal pCO(2) increased similar to 4 times more rapidly than ocean rates, enhancing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Indeed, coastal systems undergo more drastic changes than the ocean and coastal acidification trends are substantially enhanced from nutrient reductions to address coastal eutrophication.

  • 2018. Filippa Fransner (et al.). Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans 123 (1), 166-188

    High inputs of nutrients and organic matter make coastal seas places of intense air‐sea CO2 exchange. Due to their complexity, the role of coastal seas in the global air‐sea CO2 exchange is, however, still uncertain. Here, we investigate the role of phytoplankton stoichiometric flexibility and extracellular DOC production for the seasonal nutrient and CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) dynamics in the Gulf of Bothnia, Northern Baltic Sea. A 3‐D ocean biogeochemical‐physical model with variable phytoplankton stoichiometry is for the first time implemented in the area and validated against observations. By simulating non‐Redfieldian internal phytoplankton stoichiometry, and a relatively large production of extracellular dissolved organic carbon (DOC), the model adequately reproduces observed seasonal cycles in macronutrients and pCO2. The uptake of atmospheric CO2 is underestimated by 50% if instead using the Redfield ratio to determine the carbon assimilation, as in other Baltic Sea models currently in use. The model further suggests, based on the observed drawdown of pCO2, that observational estimates of organic carbon production in the Gulf of Bothnia, derived with the method, may be heavily underestimated. We conclude that stoichiometric variability and uncoupling of carbon and nutrient assimilation have to be considered in order to better understand the carbon cycle in coastal seas.

  • 2018. Jacob Carstensen (et al.).

    Recent studies on marine life show that the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration can have negative impacts on growth and survival of groups of marine life such as corals and other calcifying organisms.

    Increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, and hence in the oceans, lead to decreasing pH or increasing acidification, a process known as ocean acidification (OA). During the last century, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen from around 280 ppm to 400 ppm; this has led to a pH decrease in the oceans of 0.1. OA currently takes place at a rate corresponding to approximately -0.02 pH unit per decade and an increase in CO2 at around 2 ppm per year. The projections for atmospheric CO2 concentration is an increase to around 1000 ppm at the end of the century, which will lower pH in the oceans by 0.3-0.4. Although this may appear relatively small, a decrease in pH of 0.1 corresponds to an increase in acidity (“free” protons) of 25%, and 0.3-0.4 corresponds to an increase of 200-250%.

    Coastal systems experience changes in pH over time exceeding those of the ocean by several orders of magnitude, but the field is poorly studied, and the spatial variation is large. The Baltic Sea is no exception to this. pH changes in the Baltic Sea are tightly coupled to nutrient input, alkalinity (AT) of freshwater sources in addition to increased CO2 levels and warming. Acidification trends vary substantially among coastal systems and time of year, but have been reported up to 10 times faster than OA. 

    The TRIACID project has mapped acidification trends in the Baltic Sea during the past 40 years, in different regions, and identified areas with a general lack of data. The project has described spatial variation and trends  in pH status, and the main drivers of changing pH have been identified. Given the spatial variation, the data gaps, and all the different drivers a detailed projection of the development is complicated but since we expect increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, rising temperatures and decreasing nutrient input, the acidification trend will continue or accelerate in most of the region.

  • 2017. Erik Gustafsson (et al.). Biogeochemistry 134 (3), 301-317

    In this study we examine pools of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) in the Baltic Sea, both simulated and reconstructed from observations. We further quantify key fluxes in the C, N, and P cycling. Our calculations include pelagic reservoirs as well as the storage in the active sediment layer, which allows a complete coverage of the overall C, N, and P cycling on a system-scale. A striking property of C versus N and P cycling is that while the external supplies of total N and P (TN and TP) are largely balanced by internal removal processes, the total carbon (TC) supply is mainly compensated by a net export out of the system. In other words, external inputs of TN and TP are, in contrast to TC, rather efficiently filtered within the Baltic Sea. Further, there is a net export of TN and TP out of the system, but a net import of dissolved inorganic N and P (DIN and DIP). There is on the contrary a net export of both the organic and inorganic fractions of TC. While the pelagic pools of TC and TP are dominated by inorganic compounds, TN largely consists of organic N because allochthonous organic N is poorly degradable. There are however large basin-wise differences in C, N, and P elemental ratios as well as in inorganic versus organic fractions. These differences reflect both the differing ratios in external loads and differing oxygen conditions determining the redox-dependent fluxes of DIN and DIP.

  • 2017. Christoph Humborg (et al.). Global Biogeochemical Cycles 31 (7), 1173-1191

    This large-scale quasi-synoptic study gives a comprehensive picture of sea-air CO2 fluxes during the melt season in the central and outer Laptev Sea (LS) and East Siberian Sea (ESS). During a 7 week cruise we compiled a continuous record of both surface water and air CO2 concentrations, in total 76,892 measurements. Overall, the central and outer parts of the ESAS constituted a sink for CO2, and we estimate a median uptake of 9.4 g C m(-2) yr(-1) or 6.6 Tg C yr(-1). Our results suggest that while the ESS and shelf break waters adjacent to the LS and ESS are net autotrophic systems, the LS is a net heterotrophic system. CO2 sea-air fluxes for the LS were 4.7 g C m(-2) yr(-1), and for the ESS we estimate an uptake of 7.2 g C m(-2) yr(-1). Isotopic composition of dissolved inorganic carbon (delta C-13(DIC) and delta C-13(CO2)) in the water column indicates that the LS is depleted in delta C-13(DIC) compared to the Arctic Ocean (ArcO) and ESS with an offset of 0.5% which can be explained by mixing of delta C-13(DIC)-depleted riverine waters and 4.0 Tg yr(-1) respiration of OCter; only a minor part (0.72 Tg yr(-1)) of this respired OCter is exchanged with the atmosphere. Property-mixing diagrams of total organic carbon and isotope ratio (delta C-13(SPE-DOC)) versus dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration diagram indicate conservative and nonconservative mixing in the LS and ESS, respectively. We suggest land-derived particulate organic carbon from coastal erosion as an additional significant source for the depleted delta C-13(DIC).

  • 2016. Anne. L. Soerensen (et al.). Environmental Science and Technology 50 (21), 11787-11796

    Eutrophication is expanding worldwide, but its implication for production and bioaccumulation of neurotoxic monomethylmercury (MeHg) is unknown. We developed a mercury (Hg) biogeochemical model for the Baltic Sea and used it to investigate the impact of eutrophication on phytoplankton MeHg concentrations. For model evaluation, we measured total methylated Hg (MeHgT) in the Baltic Sea and found low concentrations (39 +/- 16 fM) above the halocline and high concentrations in anoxic waters (1249 +/- 369 fM). To close the Baltic Sea MeHgT budget, we inferred an average normoxic water column HgII methylation rate constant of 2 x 10-4 d-1. We used the model to compare Baltic Seas present-day (2005-2014) eutrophic state to an oligo/mesotrophic scenario. Eutrophication increases primary production and export of organic matter and associated Hg to the sediment effectively removing Hg from the active biogeochemical cycle; this results in a 27% lower present-day water column Hg reservoir. However, increase in organic matter production and remineralization stimulates microbial Hg methylation resulting in a seasonal increase in both water and phytoplankton MeHg reservoirs above the halocline. Previous studies of systems dominated by external MeHg sources or benthic production found eutrophication to decrease MeHg levels in plankton. This Baltic Sea study shows that in systems with MeHg production in the normoxic water column eutrophication can increase phytoplankton MeHg content.

  • 2016. Filippa Fransner (et al.). Global Biogeochemical Cycles 30 (2), 134-148

    The fate of terrestrial organic matter brought to the coastal seas by rivers, and its role in the global carbon cycle, are still not very well known. Here the degradation rate of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (DOCter) is studied in the Baltic Sea, a subarctic semi-enclosed sea, by releasing it as a tracer in a 3-D circulation model and applying linear decay constants. A good agreement with available observational data is obtained by parameterizing the degradation in two rather different ways; one by applying a decay time on the order of 10 years to the whole pool of DOCter, and one by dividing the DOCter into one refractory pool and one pool subject to a decay time on the order of 1 year. The choice of parameterization has a significant effect on where in the Baltic Sea the removal takes place, which can be of importance when modeling the full carbon cycle and the CO2 exchange with the atmosphere. In both cases the biogeochemical decay operates on time scales less than the water residence time. Therefore only a minor fraction of the DOCter reaches the North Sea, whereas approximately 80% is removed by internal sinks within the Baltic Sea. This further implies that DOCter mineralization is an important link in land-sea-atmosphere cycling of carbon in coastal- and shelf seas that are heavily influenced by riverine DOC.

  • 2015. Erik Gustafsson (et al.). Journal of Marine Systems 148, 122-130

    In this study, C-12 and C-13 contents of all carbon containing state variables (dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, detrital carbon, and the carbon content of autotrophs and heterotrophs) have for the first time been explicitly included in a coupled physical-biogeochemical Baltic Sea model. Different processes in the carbon cycling have distinct fractionation values, resulting in specific isotopic fingerprints. Thus, in addition to simulating concentrations of different tracers, our new model formulation improves the possibility to constrain the rates of processes such as CO2 assimilation, mineralization, and air-sea exchange. We demonstrate that phytoplankton production and respiration, and the related air-sea CO2 fluxes, are to a large degree controlling the isotopic composition of organic and inorganic carbon in the system. The isotopic composition is further, but to a lesser extent, influenced by river loads and deep water inflows as well as transformation of terrestrial organic carbon within the system. Changes in the isotopic composition over the 20th century have been dominated by two processes the preferential release of C-12 to the atmosphere in association with fossil fuel burning, and the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea related to increased nutrient loads under the second half of the century.

  • 2015. Erik Gustafsson, Anders Omstedt, Bo G. Gustafsson. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans 120 (8), 5342-5357

    In this study, the BALTSEM model is used to estimate how air-water CO2 fluxes in the Baltic Sea respond to parameterizations of organic alkalinity (Aorg), gas transfer, and phytoplankton growth, and further to changes in river loads. The forcing data include the most complete compilation of Baltic river loads for dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC) and total alkalinity (TA). In addition, we apply the most recent estimates of internal TA generation in the system. Our results clearly demonstrate how air-water CO2 fluxes of a coastal sea depend on river loads of carbon, TA, and nutrients as well the freshwater import itself. Long-term changes in DIC loads are shown to be compensated by corresponding changes in air-water CO2 exchange. By adding Aorg, a discrepancy in the carbonate system calculations was removed, and the simulated net CO2 absorption of the system decreased by 11%. A new parameterization for cyanobacteria growth significantly improved the seasonal development of pCO2 in the central Baltic Sea, although the net effect on CO2 fluxes was below 5%. By applying either a linear, quadratic, or cubic wind speed dependence for gas transfer, the long-term net CO2 exchange was adjusted by less than 5%. There is no clear indication that any one of these parameterizations provides a more accurate estimate of CO2 fluxes than the other two. Our findings are applicable in other coastal areas that are heavily influenced by river loads of TA, DIC, and DOC.

  • 2014. Emma Undeman, Erik Gustafsson, Bo G. Gustafsson. Science of the Total Environment 497, 382-391

    The coupled physical-biogeochemical model BALTSEM, previously used to assess nutrient/carbon cycles and eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, has been expanded to include algorithms for calculations of organic contaminant environmental transport and fate. This novel model version (BALTSEM-POP) is evaluated for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in Baltic Sea surface water and sediment. Modeled dissolved concentrations are usually within a factor of 2-4 of observed concentrations, however with larger deviations for furans. Calculated concentrations in particulate organic matter are less accurate (within factors of 1-700), likely due to errors in estimated pelagic biomass, particulate matter-water partitioning, and large natural variability in field data. Concentrations in sediments are usually predicted within a factor of 6. The good performance of the model illustrates its usefulness for exploration of contaminant fate in response to variations in nutrient input and climatic conditions in the Baltic Sea marine environment.

  • 2014. Erik Gustafsson (et al.). Journal of Marine Systems 129, 289-302

    A coupled physical-biogeochemical model (BALTSEM) is used to estimate carbon fluxes in the Baltic Sea over the 1980-2006 period. Budget calculations for organic carbon indicate that of the total allochthonous organic carbon (TOCT) supplied to the system, on average 56% is mineralized, 36% is exported out of the system, and the remainder is buried. River discharge is the main source of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) to the Baltic Sea. However, model results indicate that in the Gulf of Bothnia (northern Baltic Sea), the contribution to the DIC stock by TOCT mineralization is of the same order as direct river input of DIC In the Kattegat and Danish Straits (southwestern Baltic Sea) on the other hand, net uptake of atmospheric CO2 comprises the major DIC source. Despite large variations within the system, with net outgassing from some sub-basins and net absorption in others, the Baltic Sea as a whole was estimated to be a net sink for atmospheric CO2. Mineralization of allochthonous dissolved organic carbon (DOCT) influences air-sea CO2 exchange. A sensitivity study indicates that depending on the labile fraction of DOCT, the contribution from CO2 absorption to total external DIC sources can amount to 10-25%.

  • 2014. Bernd Schneider, Erik Gustafsson, Bernd Sadkowiak. Journal of Marine Systems 136, 1-9

    Automated measurements of the surface CO2 partial pressure, pCO2, were performed since 2003 on a cargo ship along a transect between Helsinki in the Gulf of Finland and Lübeck/Gdynia in the southwest of the Baltic Sea. The temporal and spatial resolution of the measurements amounted to 2–4 days and about 2 nautical miles, respectively. Based on temperature and salinity records and on the mean alkalinity, the total CO2 concentrations, CT, were calculated from the mean pCO2 in the northeastern Gotland Sea. The CT data were used to establish a CO2 mass balance for the period from mid-June to the beginning of August in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011. Taking into account the air–sea CO2 gas exchange, the mass balance yielded the net organic matter (Corg) production which is fuelled by nitrogen fixation at this time of the year. Several production events were detected with rates up to 8 μmol-C L− 1 d− 1. The production rates were not related to temperature, but showed a distinct correlation with the rate of the temperature increase. This led to the conclusion that the exposure of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria to irradiance is the dominating control for the Corg production. Therefore, we suggest using the ratio of irradiance to the mixed layer depth as a variable for the parameterization of nitrogen fixation in biogeochemical models. The Corg production and thus the nitrogen fixation rates remained almost constant as long as continuous rising temperatures indicated favorable irradiation conditions. A limitation of the rates by phosphate or any other factor could not be detected. Based on the C/N ratio of particulate organic matter during a cyanobacteria bloom, the Corg production was used to estimate the mid-summer nitrogen fixation. The values varied from 102 mmol m− 2 to 214 mmol m− 2 (mean: 138 mmol m− 2) for the different years and did not show any correlation with the phosphate excess after the spring nitrate depletion.

  • 2014. Erik Gustafsson (et al.). Global Biogeochemical Cycles 28 (11), 1358-1370

    In this study we first present updated riverine total alkalinity (TA) loads to the various Baltic Sea sub-basins, based on monthly measurements in 82 of the major rivers that represent 85% of the total runoff. Simulations in the coupled physical-biogeochemical BALTSEM (BAltic sea Long-Term large Scale Eutrophication Model) model show that these river loads together with North Sea water inflows are not sufficient to reproduce observed TA concentrations in the system, demonstrating the large influence from internal sources. Budget calculations indicate that the required internal TA generation must be similar to river loads in magnitude. The nonriverine source in the system amounts to about 2.4mmolm(-2) d(-1) on average. We argue here that the majority of this source is related to denitrification together with unresolved sediment processes such as burial of reduced sulfur and/or silicate weathering. This hypothesis is supported by studies on sediment processes on a global scale and also by data from sediment cores in the Baltic Sea. In a model simulation with all internal TA sources and sinks switched on, the net absorption of atmospheric CO2 increased by 0.78mol C m(-2) yr(-1) compared to a simulation where TA was treated as a passive tracer. Our results clearly illustrate how pelagic TA sources together with anaerobic mineralization in coastal sediments generate a significant carbon sink along the aquatic continuum, mitigating CO2 evasions from coastal and estuarine systems.

  • 2012. Anders Omstedt (et al.). Tellus. Series B, Chemical and physical meteorology 64, 19586

    Possible future changes in Baltic Sea acid-base (pH) and oxygen balances were studied using a catchment-sea coupled model system and numerical experiments based on meteorological and hydrological forcing datasets and scenarios. By using objective statistical methods, climate runs for present climate conditions were examined and evaluated using Baltic Sea modelling. The results indicate that increased nutrient loads will not inhibit future Baltic Sea acidification; instead, the seasonal pH cycle will be amplified by increased biological production and mineralization. All examined scenarios indicate future acidification of the whole Baltic Sea that is insensitive to the chosen global climate model. The main factor controlling the direction and magnitude of future pH changes is atmospheric CO2 concentration (i.e. emissions). Climate change and land-derived changes (e. g. nutrient loads) affect acidification mainly by altering the seasonal cycle and deep-water conditions. Apart from decreasing pH, we also project a decreased saturation state of calcium carbonate, decreased respiration index and increasing hypoxic area - all factors that will threaten the marine ecosystem. We demonstrate that substantial reductions in fossil-fuel burning are needed to minimise the coming pH decrease and that substantial reductions in nutrient loads are needed to reduce the coming increase in hypoxic and anoxic waters.

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Senast uppdaterad: 30 april 2019

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