Hypoxia is increasing in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea

Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Aug 15;45(16):6777-83. doi: 10.1021/es201212r. Epub 2011 Jul 28.


Hypoxia is a well-described phenomenon in the offshore waters of the Baltic Sea with both the spatial extent and intensity of hypoxia known to have increased due to anthropogenic eutrophication, however, an unknown amount of hypoxia is present in the coastal zone. Here we report on the widespread unprecedented occurrence of hypoxia across the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea. We have identified 115 sites that have experienced hypoxia during the period 1955-2009 increasing the global total to ca. 500 sites, with the Baltic Sea coastal zone containing over 20% of all known sites worldwide. Most sites experienced episodic hypoxia, which is a precursor to development of seasonal hypoxia. The Baltic Sea coastal zone displays an alarming trend with hypoxia steadily increasing with time since the 1950s effecting nutrient biogeochemical processes, ecosystem services, and coastal habitat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Geography
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Seawater / chemistry*
  • Time Factors


  • Oxygen