BEAR in mind...
One of the goals of Baltic Earth when it inherited BALTEX, was the establishment of assessment reports of the current state of the science in different research fields in the Baltic Earth context, similar to the BACC approach for climate change. In 2019, 6 years after the founding of Baltic Earth, and 2 international conferences, 23 workshops/seminars/sessions and 5 summer schools later, a series of extensive assessment reports, called BEAR (Baltic Earth Assessment Reports), was started. For each of the Baltic Earth Grand Challenges, a team of experts from the Baltic Earth network was asked to wrap up the current state of knowledge in the respective research fields, including uncertainties and gaps in knowledge. For each report, a lead author (mostly from the corresponding Working Group) has been responsible for the coordination of the writing process, and many co-authors have been invited to contribute to the respective reports. In addition to the Grand Challenges, more topics have been assessed due to the great relevance for current research in the Baltic Sea region.
All 11 BEAR reports are now fully published as Open Access papers in Earth System Dynamics (ESD) (as of May 2023).
See below the list of BEAR papers, with direct links on the ESD journal website. Special Issue: The Baltic Earth Assessment Reports (BEAR)
- Overview: The Baltic Earth Assessment Reports (BEAR) Editorial and summary of the reports (Editors)
- Salinity dynamics of the Baltic Sea Grand Challenge 1 (Andreas Lehmann et al.)
- Biogeochemical functioning of the Baltic Sea Grand Challenge 2 (Karol Kulinski et al.)
- Natural hazards and extreme events in the Baltic Sea region Grand Challenge 3 (Anna Rutgersson et al.)
- Sea level dynamics and coastal erosion in the Baltic Sea region Grand Challenge 4 (Ralf Weisse et al.)
- Human impacts and their interactions in the Baltic Sea region Grand Challenge 6 (Marcus Reckermann et al.)
- Global climate change and the Baltic Sea ecosystem: direct and indirect effects on species, communities and ecosystem functioning Baltic Earth topic (Markku Viitasalo and Erik Bonsdorff)
- Coupled regional Earth system modeling in the Baltic Sea region Baltic Earth topic (Matthias Gröger et al.)
- Atmospheric regional climate projections for the Baltic Sea region until 2100 Baltic Earth topic (Christensen et al.)
- Oceanographic regional climate projections for the Baltic Sea until 2100 Baltic Earth topic (Meier et al.)
- Climate change in the Baltic Sea region: a summary Baltic Earth topic (Meier et al.)
Grand Challenge 5 ("Regional variability of water and energy exchanges in the Baltic Sea region") and the Baltic Earth topic "Climate Observation Systems" will be treated in a later follow-up phase of BEAR.
A special case of the current BEAR reports is "Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Region: A Summary". This report is the update to BACC II, which had been published as a book in 2015. The upcoming report will add new knowledge and possibly challenge old knowledge, while summarizing but not repeating the valid information from BACC II and BACC I.
The reports have been established following the BACC principles, "by synthesis of material drawn comprehensively from the available scientifically legitimate literature (e.g. peer reviewed literature, conference proceedings, reports of scientific institutes). Studies whose results and conclusions cannot be reconciled with a consensus view but which are of a good scientific and technical standard should be taken into account. The assessment should thus encompass the knowledge about what scientists agree on but also identify cases of disagreement or knowledge gaps".
As for the previous two BACC endeavours, there is a close collaboration with HELCOM, the intergovernmental organization for the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. HELCOM is working to integrate climate change aspects into their work, e.g. into the update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
Moreover, HELCOM has published an easily accessible climate “Climate Change Fact Sheet” for practitioners, decision makers and the public. Baltic Earth scientists are part of the joint expert network on climate change by HELCOM and Baltic Earth (EN CLIME), which is responsible for the scientific information of the fact sheets. EN CLIME largely draws its information on BACC, BACC II and the BEAR reports.