BALTEX - An interdisciplinary research network for the Baltic Sea region
AbstractBALTEX is an environmental research network dealing with the Earth system of the entire Baltic Sea drainage basin. Important elements include the water and energy cycle, climate variability and change, water management and extreme events, and related impacts on biogeochemical cycles. BALTEX was founded in 1993 as a GEWEX continental-scale experiment and is currently in its second 10 yr phase. Phase I (1993–2002) was primarily dedicated to hydrological, meteorological and oceanographic processes in the Baltic Sea drainage basin, hence mostly dealt with the physical aspects of the system. Scientific focus was on the hydrological cycle and the exchange of energy between the atmosphere, the Baltic Sea and the surface of its catchment. The BALTEX study area was hydrologically defined as the Baltic Sea drainage basin. The second 10 yr phase of BALTEX (Phase II: 2003–12) has strengthened regional climate research, water management issues, biogeochemical cycles and overarching efforts to reach out to stakeholders and decision makers, as well as to foster communication and education. Achievements of BALTEX Phase II have been the establishment of an assessment report of regional climate change and its impacts on the Baltic Sea basin (from hydrological to biological and socio-economic), the further development of regional physical climate models and the integration of biogeochemical and ecosystem models. BALTEX features a strong infrastructure, with an international secretariat and a publication series, and organizes various workshops and conferences. This article gives an overview of the BALTEX programme, with an emphasis on Phase II, with some examples from BALTEX-related research.