Phosphate Levels Skyrocket as O2 Levels Drop in the Baltic Sea

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The oxygen problems of the main basin of the Baltic Sea continue and that phosphate levels in the surface layer have increased, according to the annual winter monitoring cruise of the marine research vessel Aranda.

The oxygen situation in the main basin of the Baltic Sea remained poor while the northwestern part of the main basin was powerfully stratified and water more than 60 metres beneath the surface was without oxygen, said the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) in a press release on Wednesday referring to the monitoring.

At the northeastern edge of the basin oxygen-free water was found only at depths below 90–95 metres.

The phosphate level in the surface layer was higher than usual for wintertime. The likely cause of this was the mixing of masses of water caused by storms.

The oxygen situation in the Gulf of Finland was relatively good, but the phosphate level in the surface layer was higher than at any time in the past 30 years.

Salinity in the surface layer of the Gulf of Finland had risen to record heights and at most measuring points phosphate levels were the highest ever recorded.

Record-high phosphate levels were now measured in a significantly wider area than last year. The rising phosphate level is caused by nutrient-rich masses of water flowing into the Gulf of Finland and mixing there.

However, the mixing of water layers improves the oxygen situation in deeper water, and low oxygen levels were found only in the western end of the Gulf of Finland.

Levels of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus measured in parts of the Archipelago Sea set new wintertime records.

The likely cause of the exceptionally high concentrations was nutrient-rich water flowing from the Gulf of Finland into the Archipelago Sea.

Oxygen levels in deeper parts of the Bothnian Sea have decreased and nutrient levels of the deep water are high in places. Nutrient levels began to rise at the start of this century and the process continues.

Oxygen and nutrient levels in Kvarken and the Bothnian Bay were at the normal wintertime levels.

An influx of saltwater entered the Baltic Sea through the Straits of Denmark in December 2023, improving the oxygen situation in deep water off the island of Bornholm.

The December saltwater inflow was moderate, with a volume of about 80 km3. Its effects were significantly weaker than those of the inflow that occurred in 2014, with a volume of 300 km3. The effects of the saltwater inflow will probably be seen in the northern part of the main basin of the Baltic Sea in the late spring or early summer.

Aranda’s winter monitoring cruise extended to the Gulf of Finland, the Archipelago Sea, the northern part of the main basin of the Baltic Sea, the Åland Sea, the Bothnian Sea, Kvarken, and the Bothnian Bay. In addition to levels of nutrients and oxygen, information was collected on matters such as hazardous chemicals and underwater noise.

Noise monitoring showed an increase in low-frequency noise in the Gulf of Finland and in the northern part of the main basin of the Baltic Sea.

Low-frequency noise inflicts stress on fish and shellfish, for example, and disturbs organisms that use sound in communication and catching prey.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

14 Comments
  1. Rebecca_Smith says

    The increasing phosphate levels in the Baltic Sea are concerning. It’s alarming to see the oxygen situation deteriorating, especially in the main basin. Hopefully, measures can be taken to address this environmental issue before it escalates further.

  2. Emily123 says

    Are there any specific measures being taken to address the increasing phosphate levels and dropping oxygen levels in the Baltic Sea?

    1. David1985 says

      Yes, efforts are being made to combat the rising phosphate levels and declining oxygen levels in the Baltic Sea. Various initiatives, such as reducing nutrient runoff from agriculture, improving wastewater treatment, and promoting sustainable fishing practices, are being implemented to mitigate the environmental impact and improve the overall health of the ecosystem.

  3. Emily_Smith says

    What implications do these rising phosphate levels in the Baltic Sea have on marine life and ecosystems?

    1. Jack_Taylor says

      Higher phosphate levels in the Baltic Sea can lead to harmful algal blooms, which can deplete oxygen levels further, impacting marine life and ecosystems. It’s crucial for authorities to monitor and address this issue promptly.

  4. Emily_1985 says

    Why are phosphate levels increasing in the Baltic Sea despite the oxygen problems? Could storm-caused water mixing be the main cause?

    1. Michael_1978 says

      Yes, the rising phosphate levels in the Baltic Sea can be attributed to the mixing of water masses caused by storms. This mixing brings nutrient-rich waters, leading to higher phosphate levels even amidst oxygen problems. It’s a complex interaction between various environmental factors.

  5. EmilySmith says

    It is alarming to see the phosphate levels skyrocketing in the Baltic Sea as oxygen levels drop. The environmental impact of this situation is concerning, and urgent measures need to be taken to address the root causes of these changes before irreversible damage occurs.

  6. EmilyJohnson92 says

    It’s concerning to see the phosphate levels rising and oxygen levels dropping in the Baltic Sea. The impact of storms causing water mixing seems to be a major factor. We need to address this issue urgently to protect the marine ecosystem.

  7. Eva_Sciences says

    It is alarming to see the phosphate levels rising and oxygen levels dropping in the Baltic Sea. These changes can have detrimental effects on the marine ecosystem. We need to take urgent actions to address this environmental issue before it escalates further.

  8. LilyBelle1985 says

    Are there any specific steps being taken to address the increasing phosphate levels and dropping oxygen levels in the Baltic Sea based on these findings?

  9. EmmaJones says

    In my opinion, this environmental report is concerning. The increasing phosphate levels and dropping oxygen levels in the Baltic Sea are alarming indicators of the ecological health of the region. It’s crucial to address the root causes of these issues and work towards sustainable solutions to protect this vital marine ecosystem.

  10. Emily_Waters says

    As an environmental enthusiast, it’s disheartening to see the phosphate levels skyrocket while oxygen levels drop in the Baltic Sea. This highlights the urgent need for more sustainable practices to protect our precious marine ecosystems.

  11. Olivia86 says

    It’s concerning to see the phosphate levels skyrocketing as oxygen levels drop in the Baltic Sea. The impact of the mixing of water masses caused by storms on the phosphate level is alarming. We need to address this environmental issue urgently to protect the marine ecosystem.

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