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3rd Baltic Earth Conference
Earth system changes and Baltic Sea coasts
Jastarnia, Hel peninsula, Poland
1 - 5 June 2020



International advanced PhD course on

Impact of climate change on the marine environment with special focus on the role of changing extremes

co-organized by the “Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management” (BEAM) and Baltic Earth programmes and funded by BEAM

Askö Laboratory, Trosa, Sweden, 24 - 30 August 2015

Thank you for an excellent summer school and a great time on the wonderful island of Askö in the Swedish archipelago!

7 days (6 of those sunny), 20 students, 16 lecturers, 1 island. These were the ingredients for a fabulous week in the Swedish archipelago. The Askö Laboratory of Stockholm University hosted the PhD course on the "Impact of climate change on the marine environment with special focus on the role of changing extremes", jointly organized by Baltic Earth and the Baltic Sea Centre of Stockholm University, and funded by BEAM, the "Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management" programme of of Stockholm University.

The group of students was diverse - from 8 countries sourrounding the Baltic Sea (originating from 12 countries), with different research agendas, so different cultural and academic backgrounds came together, forming a truely international and interdisciplinary group, perfectly fitting the Baltic Earth idea. As a side remark, we had 16 female but just 4 male students; and this ratio was reverse among the lecturers (4 female, 12 male). Maybe something to think about.

Students listened to and vivively discussed the presentations, with some course work dedicated to specific questions. Also, students had the overarching talk to draft a "research proposal" to be submittted to a virtual funding institution. This dynamic group work gave them the opportunity for interaction and collaboration across disciplines. The proposals could be either basic or applied research, related to the environmental state and recovery of the Baltic Sea, and the outcomes were impressive and showed a good understanding of the problems, with interesting novel ideas for potential solutions.

Although the academic programme was quite tight, there was time for swimming, snorkling, biking, sauning, and two barbecues. The warm and sunny weather added to the brilliant spirit among students and lecturers. The staff of Askö Laboratory helped wherever they could. Special thanks go to Nastassja, who not only filmed the lectures but also was very helpful in helping to get along in the station and on the island.

Find all lectures as pdf, and filmed lectures as YouTube videos here...

For some photos, see here...

Again thanks to all for making this such a peasurable experience!

Lecturers Agenda At a Glance Lectures

Course Description

The course will focus on the impact of climate change on the marine environment, in particular on Baltic Sea hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry - one of BEAM’s research areas. However, the other research areas of BEAM will be addressed as well (nutrient enrichment, management, hazardous substances and ecosystem functioning, see topics in the course agenda below). Hence, the marine ecosystem will be studied with the help of a multi-stressor approach taking into account the changing climate, eutrophication, de-oxygenation, acidification, pollution, habitat degradation, invasive species and overfishing.

To address stressors and ecosystem response, a holistic Earth System approach as well as key processes in meteorology, climatology, oceanography, marine and land chemistry and biology will be presented. We will address challenges in regional climate system modeling like the unclosed water cycle, altered sensitivity due to bias correction, unknown nutrient load changes on the 100-yr timescale, unknown bioavailability of nutrients in land runoff, deficiencies in knowledge about coastal zone – open sea exchange, unknown initial conditions for the Baltic Sea, unreliable parameterizations of sediment fluxes and turnover of nutrients in the sediments, lack of process understanding in the northern Baltic Sea under oligotrophic conditions, etc.

The impact of extreme events on the marine environment will be a special focus in this course. Projected changes in salt water inflow frequency, intermittently occurring hypoxia (e.g. seasonal hypoxia in the coastal zone), heat wave frequency, sea ice cover variability, sea level and wave (resuspension) extreme events, etc. will have a profound impact on the marine environment. Whereas some studies are available for the impacts of changing mean conditions, our knowledge on changing extremes and their impact on the ecosystem are limited. The course will investigate recent literature and introduce into time series analysis during tutorials to better understand the variability of the Earth system.

Course Objectives

The proposed course will provide the students with interdisciplinary scientific knowledge on climate variability and ecosystem dynamics in the Baltic Sea catchment area and other regions surrounding coastal seas with similar climatic and environmental conditions (North Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Barents Sea, Laptev Sea, etc.). The aim is to develop an understanding of how changing climate influences biogeochemical and carbonate cycles and upper levels of the food web to enable the students’ participation in discussions on how to manage the Baltic Sea and to accommodate various stakeholder perspectives.

Examples of society relevant information, that will be discussed during the course, are

  1. possible measures to counteract eutrophication and to achieve good environmental status (Baltic Sea Action Plan, geoengineering measures),
  2. strategies how to establish marine protected areas as efficient as possible and
  3. strategies how to implement the Ecosystem Approach to Management in the Baltic Sea and other regional seas.

We will invite 15 lecturers and supervisors from various universities and disciplines to educate about 20 students. This kind of interdisciplinary course is presently lacking in most Universities in the Nordic/Baltic Sea region because no single lecturer would be able to provide the expertise in all required disciplines. The setup follows the very successful BALTEX International Advanced PhD Course on Climate Impacts on the Baltic Sea: From Science to Policy held on Bornholm 2009 (see also the text book producted from this course). The students will meet and become familiar with experts (thereby providing valuable contacts for later career possibilities), as well as developing their backgrounds and skills in the various disciplines.

The objective of the course will be to introduce students to problem-solving skills within individual disciplines via lectures, hands-on exercises and tutorials (e.g. running a global climate model in the format of an Excel sheet). In addition, there will be group work during the entire course and final presentations oriented to societal management objectives for marine ecosystems (course material will be distributed among the students in advance).


Tentative list of course lecturers/supervisors:

  • Prof. Agneta Andersson, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Dr. Thorsten Blenckner, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Prof. Keith Brander, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund, Denmark
  • Prof. Daniel Conley, University of Lund, Sweden
  • Dr. Kari Eilola, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Västra Frölunda, Sweden
  • Prof. Ragnar Elmgren, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Dr. Jana Friedrich, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  • Prof. Christoph Humborg, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Prof. Erik Kjellström, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrographic Institute, Norrköping, Sweden
  • Prof. Markus Meier, SMHI, Norrköping, and Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Prof. Anders Omstedt, University of Gothenberg, Sweden
  • Dr. Marcus Reckermann, International Baltic Earth Secretariat, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  • Prof. Anna Rutgersson, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Prof. Benjamin Smith, University of Lund, Sweden
  • Dr. Emma Undeman, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dr. Eduardo Zorita, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany

Organizing Committee:

  • Markus Meier, SMHI Norrköping, and Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Marcus Reckermann, International Baltic Earth Secretariat, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  • Silke Köppen, International Baltic Earth Secretariat, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany

  • Outreach: Nastassja Astrand Capetillo, Baltic Sea centre, Stockholm University, Sweden


Tentative course agenda (Arrival at Askö on Monday 24 August in the morning, departure on Monday 31 August in the morning):


1 Monday

2 Tuesday

3 Wednesday

4 Thursday

5 Friday

6 Saturday

7 Sunday

General topic Course introduction, Baltic Sea climate variability Past and future climate variability Baltic Sea climate variability, biogeochemical cycles, pollution Land-sea interaction,
eutrophication, hypoxia, carbon cycle, acidification
Sediments, ecosystem function and structure, light penetration Overfishing, habitat degradation, regime shifts, marine management Paleoclimate variability, review of climate models
Morning session
(2 x 45 min)
Travel to Askö Short student presentations of their thesis work (10 min. each) Markus Meier:
Past and future climate variability of the Baltic Sea
Christoph Humborg: terrestrial and marine carbon cycle Jana Friedrich: Sediment processes, sediment-water fluxes Markus Meier: climate impacts on biogeochemical cycles Eduardo Zorita: Historical and paleo-climate variability
(2 x 45 min)
Markus Meier, Marcus Reckermann: Course introduction Erik Kjellström:
The climate system and global climate models
Kari Eilola:
Biogeochemical cycles in the Baltic Sea
Ben Smith: Land sea interaction, dynamical vegetation modeling Ragnar Elmgren: Marine ecosystem in the Baltic proper Thorsten Blenckner: Regime shifts Eduardo Zorita:
A critical review of climate models
Afternoon session:
(2 x 45 min)
Anna Rutgersson: Climate variability and extremes Erik Kjellström: Regional climate simulations Emma Undeman: Pollution in the Baltic Sea Dan Conley: Hypoxia in the Baltic Sea Agneta Andersson: Ecosystem in the Gulf of Bothnia Keith Brander: Climate impacts on fish Thorsten Blenckner:
Marine management, socioeconomic scenarios
(2 x 45 min)
Anders Omstedt: Physics and chemistry of the Baltic Sea Tutorial (“run your own global climate model”) Tutorials and exercises Tutorials and exercises Tutorials and exercises Tutorials and exercises Students’ group presentations, resumé of the school
Evening session
(45 min plus discussion)
Short student presentations of their thesis work (10 min. each) Social activities Christoph Humborg: Land surface processes, socio-economy Dan Conley: Eutrophication and geoengineering methods Students group work Students group work Social activities

At a Glance...

Who organizes the course?
The course is co-organized by the Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management (BEAM) program, which is part of the Swedish Government's strategic research areas at Stockholm University, and the Baltic Earth program.

When is the course?
The course starts on Monday 24 August and ends on Sunday 30 August 2015 in the evening. Travel back will be on Monday 21 August in the morning.

Who is eligible?
The School is open to graduate students and early career researchers in marine sciences and associated fields.

How do I apply?
Send an application to balticearth@hzg.de. The application should include:

  • Your contact and a short CV (max. 2 p)
  • A letter of motivation (max. 1p)
  • A valid confirmation of student status (or copy of PhD certificate)
  • An abstract of your PhD project (max. 2p, please download the abstract template: .docx or .odt). You may include up to 2 figures or tables. We intend to publish course proceedings.

Application is closed now.

Notification of Acceptance: 5 June 2015

Where is it taking place?
Tho course will be at Askö Laboratory of the Baltic Sea Centre of Stockholm University, Sweden. Askö Laboratory is situated 80 km south of Stockholm in the Swedish archipelago. Look here where it is.

How do I get there?
There will be an organized bus transfer from Stockholm to Askö on Monday 24 August in the morning, and back on Monday 31 August in the morning. Details will be communicated later to accepted candidates.

What is being payed for?
Accepted applicants will be payed travel, accomodation, food and course materials.

International Baltic Earth Secretariat (balticearth@hzg.de)

The course is funded by BEAM and is supported by the International Baltic Earth Secretariat at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht.


Course Flyer
Programme, Abstracts and Participants

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Last update of this page: 3 Sept 2015