Recovery from multi-millennial natural coastal hypoxia in the Stockholm Archipelago, Baltic Sea, terminated by modern human activity
Summary, in English
Enhanced nutrient input and warming have led to the development of low oxygen (hypoxia) in coastal waters globally. For many coastal areas, insight into redox conditions prior to human impact is lacking. Here, we reconstructed bottom water redox conditions and sea surface temperatures (SSTs) for the coastal Stockholm Archipelago over the past 3000 yr. Elevated sedimentary concentrations of molybdenum indicate (seasonal) hypoxia between 1000 b.c.e. and 1500 c.e. Biomarker-based (TEX86) SST reconstructions indicate that the recovery from hypoxia after 1500 c.e. coincided with a period of significant cooling (∼ 2°C), while human activity in the study area, deduced from trends in sedimentary lead and existing paleobotanical and archeological records, had significantly increased. A strong increase in sedimentary lead and zinc, related to more intense human activity in the 18th and 19th century, and the onset of modern warming precede the return of hypoxia in the Stockholm Archipelago. We conclude that climatic cooling played an important role in the recovery from natural hypoxia after 1500 c.e., but that eutrophication and warming, related to modern human activity, led to the return of hypoxia in the 20th century. Our findings imply that ongoing global warming may exacerbate hypoxia in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea.
- Department of Geology
- Quaternary Sciences
- BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
Limnology and Oceanography
- ISSN: 1939-5590