Global climate change is expected to have an effect on the physical and ecological characteristics of the Baltic Sea. Estimates of future climate on the regional scale can be obtained by using either statistical or dynamical downscaling methods of global AOGCM scenario results. In this paper, we use 2 different coupled ice-ocean models of the Baltic Sea to simulate present and future ice conditions around 100 years from present. Two 10-year time slice experiments have been performed using the results of atmospheric climate model simulations as forcing, one representing pre-industrial climate conditions (control simulation), and the other global warming with a 150% increase in CO2 greenhouse gas concentration (scenario simulation). Present-day climatological ice conditions and interannual variability are realistically reproduced by the models. The simulated range of the maximum annual ice extent in the Baltic in both models together is 180 to 420 · 103 km2 in the control simulation and 45 to 270 · 103 km2 in the scenario simulation.
The range of the maximum annual ice thickness is from 32 to 96 cm and from 11 to 60 cm in the control and scenario simulations, respectively. In contrast to earlier estimates, sea ice is still formed every winter in the Northern Bothnian Bay and in the most Eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland. Overall, the simulated changes of quantities such as ice extent and ice thickness, as well as their interannual variations are relatively similar in both models, which is remarkable, because the 2 coupled ice-ocean model systems have been developed independently. This increases the reliability of future projections of ice conditions in the Baltic Sea.