Sea-ice in the Baltic Sea in present and future climates is investigated. The Rossby Centre Regional Atmosphere-Ocean model was used to perform a set of 30-year-long time slice experiments. For each of the two driving global models HadAM3H and ECHAM4/OPYC3, one control run (1961–1990) and two scenario runs (2071–2100) based upon the SRES A2 and B2 emission scenarios were conducted. The future sea-ice volume in the Baltic Sea is reduced by 83% on average. The Bothnian Sea, large areas of the Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Riga, and the outer parts of the southwestern archipelago of Finland will become ice-free in the mean. The presented scenarios are used to study the impact of climate change on the Baltic ringed seal (Phoca hispida botnica). Climate change seems to be a major threat to all southern populations. The only fairly good winter sea-ice habitat is found to be confined to the Bay of Bothnia.
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Vol. 33 • No. 4