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The Baltic Sea
Sea
is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Scandinavia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Germany
Germany
and the North and Central European Plain. The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 10°E to 30°E longitude. A mediterranean sea of the Atlantic, with limited water exchange between the two bodies, the Baltic Sea
Sea
drains through the Danish islands into the Kattegat
Kattegat
by way of the straits of Øresund, the Great Belt, and the Little Belt. It includes the Gulf of Bothnia, the Bay of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga, and the Bay of Gdańsk. The Baltic Proper is bordered on its northern edge, at the latitude 60°N, by the Åland islands
Åland islands
and the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga, and in the west by the Swedish part of the southern Scandinavian Peninsula. The Baltic Sea
Sea
is connected by artificial waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea
Sea
Canal and to the German Bight
German Bight
of the North Sea
Sea
via the Kiel
Kiel
Canal.

Contents

1 Definitions 2 Etymology

2.1 Name in other languages

3 History

3.1 Classical world 3.2 Middle Ages 3.3 An arena of conflict 3.4 Since World War II 3.5 Storm floods

4 Geography

4.1 Geophysical data 4.2 Extent 4.3 Subdivisions 4.4 The ice 4.5 Hydrography 4.6 Salinity 4.7 Major tributaries 4.8 Islands and archipelagoes 4.9 Coastal countries

4.9.1 Cities

5 Geology

5.1 The "Baltic Sea
Sea
anomaly"

6 Biology

6.1 Fauna 6.2 Environmental status

7 Economy

7.1 Tourism

8 The Helsinki
Helsinki
Convention

8.1 1974 Convention 8.2 1992 Convention

9 See also 10 References 11 External links

Definitions[edit]

Danish Straits
Danish Straits
and southwestern Baltic Sea

Administration The Helsinki
Helsinki
Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea
Sea
Area includes the Baltic Sea
Sea
and the Kattegat, without calling Kattegat
Kattegat
a part of the Baltic Sea, "For the purposes of this Convention the "Baltic Sea
Sea
Area" shall be the Baltic Sea
Sea
and the Entrance to the Baltic Sea, bounded by the parallel of the Skaw in the Skagerrak
Skagerrak
at 57°44.43'N."[3] Traffic history Historically, the Kingdom of Denmark
Denmark
collected Sound Dues
Sound Dues
from ships at the border between the ocean and the land-locked Baltic Sea. They were collected in the Øresund
Øresund
at Kronborg
Kronborg
castle near Helsingør, in the Great Belt
Great Belt
at Nyborg. In the Little Belt, the site of intake was moved to Fredericia, after that stronghold had been built. The narrowest part of Little Belt
Little Belt
is the " Middelfart
Middelfart
Sund" near Middelfart.[4] Oceanography Geographers widely agree that the preferred physical border of the Baltic is a line drawn through the southern Danish islands, Drogden-Sill and Langeland.[5] The Drogden
Drogden
Sill is situated north of Køge Bugt
Køge Bugt
and connects Dragør
Dragør
in the south of Copenhagen
Copenhagen
to Malmö; it is used by the Øresund
Øresund
Bridge, including the Drogden
Drogden
Tunnel. By this definition, the Danish Straits
Danish Straits
are part of the entrance, but the Bay of Mecklenburg
Bay of Mecklenburg
and the Bay of Kiel
Kiel
are parts of the Baltic Sea. Another usual border is the line between Falsterbo, Sweden
Sweden
and Stevns Klint, Denmark, as this is the southern border of Øresund. It's also the border between the shallow southern Øresund
Øresund
(with a typical depth of 5–10 meters only) and notably deeper water. Hydrography and biology Drogden
Drogden
Sill (depth of 7 m (23 ft)) sets a limit to Øresund and Darss
Darss
Sill (depth of 18 m (59 ft)), and a limit to the Belt Sea.[6] The shallow sills are obstacles to the flow of heavy salt water from the Kattegat
Kattegat
into the basins around Bornholm
Bornholm
and Gotland. The Kattegat
Kattegat
and the southwestern Baltic Sea
Sea
are well oxygenated and have a rich biology. The remainder of the Sea
Sea
is brackish, poor in oxygen and in species. Thus, statistically, the more of the entrance that is included in its definition, the healthier the Baltic appears; conversely, the more narrowly it is defined, the more endangered its biology appears. Etymology[edit] While Tacitus
Tacitus
called it Mare Suebicum after the Germanic people
Germanic people
of the Suebi,[7] and Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Sarmatian Ocean
Ocean
after the Sarmatians,[8] the first to name it the Baltic Sea
Sea
(Mare Balticum) was the eleventh-century German chronicler Adam of Bremen. The origin of the latter name is speculative and it was adopted into Slavic and Finnic languages spoken around the sea, very likely due to the role of Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
in cartography. It might be connected to the Germanic word belt, a name used for two of the Danish straits, the Belts, while others claim it to be directly derived from the source of the Germanic word, Latin
Latin
balteus "belt".[9] Adam of Bremen
Adam of Bremen
himself compared the sea with a belt, stating that it is so named because it stretches through the land as a belt (Balticus, eo quod in modum baltei longo tractu per Scithicas regiones tendatur usque in Greciam). He might also have been influenced by the name of a legendary island mentioned in the Natural History of Pliny the Elder. Pliny mentions an island named Baltia (or Balcia) with reference to accounts of Pytheas and Xenophon. It is possible that Pliny refers to an island named Basilia ("the royal") in On the Ocean
Ocean
by Pytheas. Baltia also might be derived from belt and mean "near belt of sea, strait." Meanwhile, others have suggested that the name of the island originates from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhel meaning "white, fair".[10] This root and its basic meaning were retained in both Lithuanian (as baltas) and Latvian (as balts). On this basis, a related hypothesis holds that the name originated from this Indo-European root via a Baltic language
Baltic language
such as Lithuanian.[11] Another explanation is that, while derived from the aforementioned root, the name of the sea is related to names for various forms of water and related substances in several European languages, that might have been originally associated with colors found in swamps (compare Proto-Slavic *bolto "swamp"). Yet another explanation is that the name originally meant "enclosed sea, bay" as opposed to open sea.[12] Some Swedish historians believe the name derives from the god Baldr
Baldr
of Nordic mythology. In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the sea was known by a variety of names. The name Baltic Sea
Sea
became dominant only after 1600. Usage of Baltic and similar terms to denote the region east of the sea started only in 19th century. Name in other languages[edit] The Baltic Sea
Sea
was known in ancient Latin
Latin
language sources as Mare Suebicum or even Mare Germanicum.[13] Older native names in languages that used to be spoken on the shores of the sea or near it usually indicate the geographical location of the sea (in Germanic languages), or its size in relation to smaller gulfs (in Old Latvian), or tribes associated with it (in Old Russian the sea was known as the Varanghian Sea). In modern languages it is known by the equivalents of "East Sea", "West Sea", or "Baltic Sea" in different languages:

"Baltic Sea" is used in English; in the Baltic languages
Baltic languages
Latvian (Baltijas jūra; in Old Latvian it was referred to as "the Big Sea", while the present day Gulf of Riga
Riga
was referred to as "the Little Sea") and Lithuanian (Baltijos jūra); in Latin
Latin
(Mare Balticum) and the Romance languages
Romance languages
French (Mer Baltique), Italian (Mar Baltico), Portuguese (Mar Báltico), Romanian (Marea Baltică) and Spanish (Mar Báltico); in Greek (Βαλτική Θάλασσα Valtikí Thálassa); in Albanian (Deti Balltik); in Welsh (Môr Baltig); in the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
Polish (Morze Bałtyckie or Bałtyk), Czech (Baltské moře or Balt), Slovenian (Baltsko morje), Bulgarian (Балтийско море Baltijsko More), Kashubian (Bôłt), Macedonian (Балтичко Море Baltičko More), Ukrainian (Балтійське море Baltijs′ke More), Belarusian (Балтыйскае мора Baltyjskaje Mora), Russian (Балтийское море Baltiyskoye More) and Serbo-Croatian (Baltičko more / Балтичко море); in Hungarian (Balti-tenger). In Germanic languages, except English, "East Sea" is used, as in Afrikaans
Afrikaans
(Oossee), Danish (Østersøen), Dutch (Oostzee), German (Ostsee), Icelandic and Faroese (Eystrasalt), Norwegian (Østersjøen), and Swedish (Östersjön). In Old English
Old English
it was known as Ostsæ; also in Hungarian the former name was Keleti-tenger (due to German influence). In addition, Finnish, a Finnic language, has calqued the Swedish term as Itämeri "East Sea", disregarding the geography (the sea is west of Finland), though understandably since Finland
Finland
was a part of Sweden
Sweden
from the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
until 1809. In another Finnic language, Estonian, it is called the "West Sea" (Läänemeri), with the correct geography (the sea is west of Estonia).

History[edit] Classical world[edit] At the time of the Roman Empire, the Baltic Sea
Sea
was known as the Mare Suebicum or Mare Sarmaticum. Tacitus
Tacitus
in his AD 98 Agricola and Germania described the Mare Suebicum, named for the Suebi
Suebi
tribe, during the spring months, as a brackish sea where the ice broke apart and chunks floated about. The Suebi
Suebi
eventually migrated southwest to reside for a while in the Rhineland area of modern Germany, where their name survives in the historic region known as Swabia. Jordanes called it the Germanic Sea
Sea
in his work, the Getica. Middle Ages[edit]

Cape Arkona
Cape Arkona
on the island of Rügen
Rügen
in Germany, was a sacred site of the Slavs before Christianization.

In the early Middle Ages, Norse (Scandinavian) merchants built a trade empire all around the Baltic. Later, the Norse fought for control of the Baltic against Wendish tribes dwelling on the southern shore. The Norse also used the rivers of Russia
Russia
for trade routes, finding their way eventually to the Black Sea
Sea
and southern Russia. This Norse-dominated period is referred to as the Viking Age. Since the Viking age, the Scandinavians have referred to the Baltic Sea
Sea
as Austmarr ("Eastern Lake"). "Eastern Sea", appears in the Heimskringla
Heimskringla
and Eystra salt appears in Sörla þáttr. Saxo Grammaticus recorded in Gesta Danorum
Gesta Danorum
an older name, Gandvik, -vik being Old Norse
Old Norse
for "bay", which implies that the Vikings correctly regarded it as an inlet of the sea. Another form of the name, "Grandvik", attested in at least one English translation of Gesta Danorum, is likely to be a misspelling.) In addition to fish the sea also provides amber, especially from its southern shores within today's borders of Poland, Russia
Russia
and Lithuania. First mentions of amber deposits on the South coast of the Baltic Sea
Sea
date back to the 12th century.[14] The bordering countries have also traditionally exported lumber, wood tar, flax, hemp and furs by ship across the Baltic. Sweden
Sweden
had from early medieval times exported iron and silver mined there, while Poland
Poland
had and still has extensive salt mines. Thus the Baltic Sea
Sea
has long been crossed by much merchant shipping. The lands on the Baltic's eastern shore were among the last in Europe to be converted to Christianity. This finally happened during the Northern Crusades: Finland
Finland
in the twelfth century by Swedes, and what are now Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
in the early thirteenth century by Danes and Germans (Livonian Brothers of the Sword). The Teutonic Order gained control over parts of the southern and eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, where they set up their monastic state. Lithuania
Lithuania
was the last European state to convert to Christianity. An arena of conflict[edit]

Main trading routes of the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
(Hanse).

In 1649 the settlement of the Latvian-speaking Kursenieki
Kursenieki
spanned from Klaipėda
Klaipėda
to Gdańsk
Gdańsk
along the coast of the Baltic Sea.

In the period between the 8th and 14th centuries, there was much piracy in the Baltic from the coasts of Pomerania
Pomerania
and Prussia, and the Victual Brothers
Victual Brothers
even held Gotland. Starting in the 11th century, the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic were settled by migrants mainly from Germany, a movement called the Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung
("east settling"). Other settlers were from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Scotland. The Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs
were gradually assimilated by the Germans.[15] Denmark
Denmark
gradually gained control over most of the Baltic coast, until she lost much of her possessions after being defeated in the 1227 Battle of Bornhöved.

The naval Battle of the Sound
Battle of the Sound
took place on 8 November 1658 during the Dano-Swedish War.

The burning Cap Arcona
Cap Arcona
shortly after the attacks, 3 May 1945. Only 350 survived of the 4,500 prisoners who had been aboard

In the 13th to 16th centuries, the strongest economic force in Northern Europe
Europe
was the Hanseatic League, a federation of merchant cities around the Baltic Sea
Sea
and the North Sea. In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden
Sweden
fought wars for Dominium maris baltici
Dominium maris baltici
("Lordship over the Baltic Sea"). Eventually, it was Sweden
Sweden
that virtually encompassed the Baltic Sea. In Sweden
Sweden
the sea was then referred to as Mare Nostrum Balticum ("Our Baltic Sea"). The goal of Swedish warfare during the 17th century was to make the Baltic Sea
Sea
an all-Swedish sea (Ett Svenskt innanhav), something that was accomplished except the rout[clarification needed] between Riga
Riga
in Latvia
Latvia
and Stettin in Pomerania. However, it was the Dutch who dominated Baltic trade in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century, Russia
Russia
and Prussia
Prussia
became the leading powers over the sea. Sweden's defeat in the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
brought Russia
Russia
to the eastern coast. Russia
Russia
became and remained a dominating power in the Baltic. Russia's Peter the Great
Peter the Great
saw the strategic importance of the Baltic and decided to found his new capital, Saint Petersburg, at the mouth of the Neva
Neva
river at the east end of the Gulf of Finland. There was much trading not just within the Baltic region but also with the North Sea
Sea
region, especially eastern England
England
and the Netherlands: their fleets needed the Baltic timber, tar, flax and hemp. During the Crimean War, a joint British and French fleet attacked the Russian fortresses in the Baltic. They bombarded Sveaborg, which guards Helsinki; and Kronstadt, which guards Saint Petersburg; and they destroyed Bomarsund in the Åland Islands. After the unification of Germany
Germany
in 1871, the whole southern coast became German. World War I was partly fought in the Baltic Sea. After 1920 Poland
Poland
was connected to the Baltic Sea
Sea
by the Polish Corridor
Polish Corridor
and enlarged the port of Gdynia
Gdynia
in rivalry with the port of the Free City of Danzig. During World War II, Germany
Germany
reclaimed all of the southern and much of the eastern shore by occupying Poland
Poland
and the Baltic states. In 1945, the Baltic Sea
Sea
became a mass grave for retreating soldiers and refugees on torpedoed troop transports. The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff remains the worst maritime disaster in history, killing (very roughly) 9,000 people. In 2005, a Russian group of scientists found over five thousand airplane wrecks, sunken warships, and other material, mainly from World War II, on the bottom of the sea. Since World War II[edit] Since the end of World War II, various nations, including the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and the United States, have disposed of chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea, raising concerns of environmental contamination.[16] Even now fishermen accidentally retrieve some of these materials: the most recent available report from the Helsinki Commission notes that four small scale catches of chemical munitions representing approximately 105 kg (231 lb) of material were reported in 2005. This is a reduction from the 25 incidents representing 1,110 kg (2,450 lb) of material in 2003.[17] Until now, the U.S. Government
U.S. Government
refuses to disclose the exact coordinates of the wreck sites. Rotting bottles leak Lost and other substances, thus slowly poisoning a substantial part of the Baltic Sea. After 1945, the German population was expelled from all areas east of the Oder-Neisse line, making room for displaced Poles and Russians. Poland
Poland
gained most of the southern shore. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
gained another access to the Baltic with the Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
Oblast. The Baltic states on the eastern shore were annexed by the Soviet Union. The Baltic then separated opposing military blocs: NATO
NATO
and the Warsaw Pact. Had war broken out, the Polish navy was prepared to invade the Danish isles. This border status restricted trade and travel. It ended only after the collapse of the Communist
Communist
regimes in Central and Eastern Europe
Europe
in the late 1980s. Since May 2004, with the accession of the Baltic states
Baltic states
and Poland, the Baltic Sea
Sea
has been almost entirely surrounded by countries of the European Union
European Union
(EU). The only remaining non-EU shore areas are Russian: the Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
area and the exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast. Winter storms begin arriving in the region during October. These have caused numerous shipwrecks, and contributed to the extreme difficulties of rescuing passengers of the ferry M/S Estonia
Estonia
en route from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm, Sweden, in September 1994, which claimed the lives of 852 people. Older, wood-based shipwrecks such as the Vasa tend to remain well-preserved, as the Baltic's cold and brackish water does not suit the shipworm. Storm floods[edit] Storm surge
Storm surge
floodings are generally taken to occur when the water level is more than one metre above normal. In Warnemünde about 110 floods occurred from 1950 to 2000, an average of just over two per year.[18] Historic flood events were the All Saints' Flood of 1304
All Saints' Flood of 1304
and other floods in the years 1320, 1449, 1625, 1694, 1784 and 1825. Little is known of their extent.[19] From 1872, there exist regular and reliable records of water levels in the Baltic Sea. The highest was the flood of 1872 when the water was an average of 2.43 m (8 ft 0 in) above sea level at Warnemünde and a maximum of 2.83 m (9 ft 3 in) above sea level in Warnemünde. In the last very heavy floods the average water levels reached 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) above sea level in 1904, 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in) in 1913, 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in) in January 1954, 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) on 2–4 November 1995 and 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in) on 21 February 2002.[20] Geography[edit] Geophysical data[edit]

Baltic drainage basins (catchment area), with depth, elevation, major rivers and lakes

Curonian Spit
Curonian Spit
in Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
Oblast, Russia

An arm of the North Atlantic Ocean,[21] the Baltic Sea
Sea
is enclosed by Sweden
Sweden
and Denmark
Denmark
to the northwest, Finland
Finland
to the northeast, the Baltic countries to the southeast, and the North European Plain
North European Plain
to the southwest. It is about 1,600 km (990 mi) long, an average of 193 km (120 mi) wide, and an average of 55 metres (180 ft) deep. The maximum depth is 459 m (1,506 ft) which is on the Swedish side of the center. The surface area is about 349,644 km2 (134,998 sq mi) [22] and the volume is about 20,000 km3 (4,800 cu mi). The periphery amounts to about 8,000 km (5,000 mi) of coastline.[23] The Baltic Sea
Sea
is one of the largest brackish inland seas by area, and occupies a basin (a zungenbecken) formed by glacial erosion during the last few ice ages. Physical characteristics of the Baltic Sea, its main sub-regions, and the transition zone to the Skagerrak/North Sea
Sea
area[24]

Sub-area Area Volume Maximum depth Average depth

km2 km3 m m

1. Baltic proper 211,069 13,045 459 62.1

2. Gulf of Bothnia 115,516 6,389 230 60.2

3. Gulf of Finland 29,600 1,100 123 38.0

4. Gulf of Riga 16,300 424 > 60 26.0

5. Belt Sea/Kattegat 42,408 802 109 18.9

Total Baltic Sea 415,266 21,721 459 52.3

Extent[edit] The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
defines the limits of the Baltic Sea
Sea
as follows:[25]

Bordered by the coasts of Germany, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia
Latvia
and Lithuania, it extends north-eastward of the following limits:

In the Little Belt. A line joining Falshöft (54°47′N 9°57.5′E / 54.783°N 9.9583°E / 54.783; 9.9583) and Vejsnæs Nakke (Ærø: 54°49′N 10°26′E / 54.817°N 10.433°E / 54.817; 10.433). In the Great Belt. A line joining Gulstav (South extreme of Langeland Island) and Kappel Kirke (54°46′N 11°01′E / 54.767°N 11.017°E / 54.767; 11.017) on Island of Lolland. In the Guldborg Sound. A line joining Flinthorne-Rev and Skjelby (54°38′N 11°53′E / 54.633°N 11.883°E / 54.633; 11.883). In the Sound. A line joining Stevns Lighthouse (55°17′N 12°27′E / 55.283°N 12.450°E / 55.283; 12.450) and Falsterbo
Falsterbo
Point (55°23′N 12°49′E / 55.383°N 12.817°E / 55.383; 12.817).

Subdivisions[edit]

Regions and basins of the Baltic Sea:[26] 1 = Bothnian Bay 2 = Bothnian Sea 1 + 2 = Gulf of Bothnia, partly also 3 & 4 3 = Archipelago
Archipelago
Sea 4 = Åland Sea 5 = Gulf of Finland 6 = Northern Baltic Proper 7 = Western Gotland
Gotland
Basin 8 = Eastern Gotland
Gotland
Basin 9 = Gulf of Riga 10 = Bay of Gdańsk/Gdansk Basin 11 = Bornholm
Bornholm
Basin and Hanö Bight 12 = Arkona Basin 6–12 = Baltic Proper 13 = Kattegat, not an integral part of the Baltic Sea 14 = Belt Sea
Sea
( Little Belt
Little Belt
and Great Belt) 15 = Öresund
Öresund
(The Sound) 14 + 15 = Danish Straits, not an integral part of the Baltic Sea

The northern part of the Baltic Sea
Sea
is known as the Gulf of Bothnia, of which the northernmost part is the Bay of Bothnia
Bay of Bothnia
or Bothnian Bay. The more rounded southern basin of the gulf is called Bothnian Sea
Sea
and immediately to the south of it lies the Sea
Sea
of Åland. The Gulf of Finland
Finland
connects the Baltic Sea
Sea
with Saint Petersburg. The Gulf of Riga
Riga
lies between the Latvian capital city of Riga
Riga
and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. The Northern Baltic Sea
Sea
lies between the Stockholm
Stockholm
area, southwestern Finland
Finland
and Estonia. The Western and Eastern Gotland
Gotland
Basins form the major parts of the Central Baltic Sea
Sea
or Baltic proper. The Bornholm Basin is the area east of Bornholm, and the shallower Arkona Basin extends from Bornholm
Bornholm
to the Danish isles of Falster
Falster
and Zealand. In the south, the Bay of Gdańsk
Gdańsk
lies east of the Hel Peninsula
Hel Peninsula
on the Polish coast and west of the Sambia Peninsula
Sambia Peninsula
in Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
Oblast. The Bay of Pomerania
Pomerania
lies north of the islands of Usedom
Usedom
and Wolin, east of Rügen. Between Falster
Falster
and the German coast lie the Bay of Mecklenburg and Bay of Lübeck. The westernmost part of the Baltic Sea is the Bay of Kiel. The three Danish straits, the Great Belt, the Little Belt
Little Belt
and The Sound (Öresund/Øresund), connect the Baltic Sea with the Kattegat
Kattegat
and Skagerrak
Skagerrak
strait in the North Sea. The ice[edit]

Satellite image of the Baltic Sea
Sea
in a mild winter

Traversing Baltic Sea
Sea
and ice

On the long-term average, the Baltic Sea
Sea
is ice-covered at the annual maximum for about 45% of its surface area. The ice-covered area during such a typical winter includes the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga, the archipelago west of Estonia, the Stockholm
Stockholm
archipelago, and the Archipelago
Archipelago
Sea
Sea
southwest of Finland. The remainder of the Baltic does not freeze during a normal winter, with the exception of sheltered bays and shallow lagoons such as the Curonian Lagoon. The ice reaches its maximum extent in February or March; typical ice thickness in the northernmost areas in the Bothnian Bay, the northern basin of the Gulf of Bothnia, is about 70 cm (28 in) for landfast sea ice. The thickness decreases farther south. Freezing begins in the northern extremities of Gulf of Bothnia typically in the middle of November, reaching the open waters of the Bothnian Bay
Bothnian Bay
in early January. The Bothnian Sea, the basin south of Kvarken, freezes on average in late February. The Gulf of Finland
Finland
and the Gulf of Riga
Riga
freeze typically in late January. In 2011, the Gulf of Finland
Finland
was completely frozen on 15 February.[27] The ice extent depends on whether the winter is mild, moderate, or severe. Severe winters can lead to ice formation around southern Sweden
Sweden
and even in the Danish straits. According to the 18th-century natural historian William Derham, during the severe winters of 1703 and 1708, the ice cover reached as far as the Danish straits.[28] Frequently, parts of the Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
and Gulf of Finland
Finland
are frozen, in addition to coastal fringes in more southerly locations such as the Gulf of Riga. This description meant that the whole of the Baltic Sea
Sea
was covered with ice. It is known that since 1720, the Baltic Sea
Sea
has frozen over entirely a total of 20 times. The most recent case was in early 1987, which was the most severe winter in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
since that date. The ice then covered 400,000 km2 (150,000 sq mi). During the winter of 2010–11, which was quite severe compared to those of the last decades, the maximum ice cover was 315,000 km2 (122,000 sq mi), which was reached on 25 February 2011. The ice then extended from the north down to the northern tip of Gotland, with small ice-free areas on either side, and the east coast of the Baltic Sea
Sea
was covered by an ice sheet about 25 to 100 km (16 to 62 mi) wide all the way to Gdańsk. This was brought about by a stagnant high-pressure area that lingered over central and northern Scandinavia
Scandinavia
from around 10 to 24 February. After this, strong southern winds pushed the ice further into the north, and much of the waters north of Gotland
Gotland
were again free of ice, which had then packed against the shores of southern Finland.[29] The effects of the afore-mentioned high-pressure area did not reach the southern parts of the Baltic Sea, and thus the entire sea did not freeze over. However, floating ice was additionally observed near Świnoujście
Świnoujście
harbour in January 2010. In recent years prior to 2011, the Bothnian Bay
Bothnian Bay
and the Bothnian Sea were frozen with solid ice near the Baltic coast and dense floating ice far from it. In 2008, there was almost no ice formation except for a short period in March.[30]

Piles of drift ice on the shore of Puhtulaid, near Virtsu, Estonia, in late April

During winter, fast ice, which is attached to the shoreline, develops first, rendering ports unusable without the services of icebreakers. Level ice, ice sludge, pancake ice, and rafter ice form in the more open regions. The gleaming expanse of ice is similar to the Arctic, with wind-driven pack ice and ridges up to 15 m (49 ft). Offshore of the landfast ice, the ice remains very dynamic all year, and it is relatively easily moved around by winds and therefore forms pack ice, made up of large piles and ridges pushed against the landfast ice and shores. In spring, the Gulf of Finland
Finland
and the Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
normally thaw in late April, with some ice ridges persisting until May in the eastern extremities of the Gulf of Finland. In the northernmost reaches of the Bothnian Bay, ice usually stays until late May; by early June it is practically always gone. However, in the famine year of 1867 remnants of ice were observed as late as July 17 near Uddskär.[31] Even as far south as Øresund, remnants of ice have been observed in May on several occasions; near Taarbaek
Taarbaek
on May 15, 1942 and near Copenhagen
Copenhagen
on May 11, 1771. Drift ice was also observed on May 11, 1799.[32][33][34] The ice cover is the main habitat for two large mammals, the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) and the Baltic ringed seal (Pusa hispida botnica), both of which feed underneath the ice and breed on its surface. Of these two seals, only the Baltic ringed seal suffers when there is not adequate ice in the Baltic Sea, as it feeds its young only while on ice. The grey seal is adapted to reproducing also with no ice in the sea. The sea ice also harbours several species of algae that live in the bottom and inside unfrozen brine pockets in the ice. Hydrography[edit]

Depths of the Baltic Sea
Sea
in metres

The Baltic Sea
Sea
flows out through the Danish straits; however, the flow is complex. A surface layer of brackish water discharges 940 km3 (230 cu mi) per year into the North Sea. Due to the difference in salinity, by salinity permeation principle, a sub-surface layer of more saline water moving in the opposite direction brings in 475 km3 (114 cu mi) per year. It mixes very slowly with the upper waters, resulting in a salinity gradient from top to bottom, with most of the salt water remaining below 40 to 70 m (130 to 230 ft) deep. The general circulation is anti-clockwise: northwards along its eastern boundary, and south along the western one .[35] The difference between the outflow and the inflow comes entirely from fresh water. More than 250 streams drain a basin of about 1,600,000 km2 (620,000 sq mi), contributing a volume of 660 km3 (160 cu mi) per year to the Baltic. They include the major rivers of north Europe, such as the Oder, the Vistula, the Neman, the Daugava and the Neva. Additional fresh water comes from the difference of precipitation less evaporation, which is positive. An important source of salty water are infrequent inflows of North Sea water into the Baltic. Such inflows, important to the Baltic ecosystem because of the oxygen they transport into the Baltic deeps, used to happen on average every four to five years until the 1980s. In recent decades they have become less frequent. The latest four occurred in 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2014 suggesting a new inter-inflow period of about ten years. The water level is generally far more dependent on the regional wind situation than on tidal effects. However, tidal currents occur in narrow passages in the western parts of the Baltic Sea. The significant wave height is generally much lower than that of the North Sea. Violent and sudden storms often sweep the surface, due to large transient temperature differences and a long reach of wind. Seasonal winds also cause small changes in sea level, of the order of 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in) .[35] Salinity[edit]

Baltic Sea
Sea
near Klaipėda
Klaipėda
(Karklė).

The Baltic Sea's salinity is much lower than that of ocean water (which averages 3.5%), as a result of abundant freshwater runoff from the surrounding land, combined with the shallowness of the sea itself; runoff contributes roughly one-fortieth its total volume per year, as the volume of the basin is about 21,000 km3 (5,000 cu mi) and yearly runoff is about 500 km3 (120 cu mi). The open surface waters of the central basin have salinity of 0.5% to 0.8%, which makes the basin border-line freshwater. Drinking the water as a means of survival would actually hydrate the body instead of dehydrating, as is the case with ocean water.[note 1] At the semi-enclosed bays with major freshwater inflows, such as the head of Finnish Gulf with the Neva
Neva
mouth and the head of the Bothnian Gulf
Bothnian Gulf
with the close mouths of the Lule, Tornio and Kemi, the salinity is considerably lower. Below 40 to 70 m (130 to 230 ft), the salinity is between 1.0% and 1.5% in the open Baltic Sea, and higher near the Danish Straits, but this is still less than half that of ocean water. The flow of fresh water into the sea from approximately two hundred rivers and the introduction of salt from the South builds up a gradient of salinity in the Baltic Sea. Near the Danish straits
Danish straits
the salinity is close to that of the Kattegat, but still not fully oceanic, because the saltiest water that passes the straits is already mixed with considerable amounts of outflow water. The salinity steadily decreases towards North and East. At the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
the water is no longer salty and many fresh water species live in the sea. The salinity gradient is paralleled by a temperature gradient. These two factors limit many species of animals and plants to a relatively narrow region of the Baltic Sea. The most saline water is vertically stratified in the water column to the north, creating a barrier to the exchange of oxygen and nutrients, and fostering completely separate maritime environments.[36] Major tributaries[edit] See also: List of rivers of the Baltic Sea The rating of mean discharges differs from the ranking of hydrological lengths (from the most distant source to the sea) and the rating of the nominal lengths. Göta älv, a tributary of the Kattegat, is not listed, as due to the northward upper low-salinity-flow in the sea, its water hardly reaches the Baltic proper:

Name Mean Discharge (m3/s) Length (km) Basin (km2) States sharing the basin Longest watercourse

Neva 2500 74 (nominal) 860 (hydrological) 281,000 Russia, Finland
Finland
(Ladoga-affluent Vuoksi) Suna (280 km) → Lake Onega
Lake Onega
(160 km) → Svir (224 km) → Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
(122 km) → Neva

Vistula 1080 1047 194,424 Poland, tributaries: Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia

Daugava 678 1020 87,900 Russia
Russia
(source), Latvia

Neman 678 937 98,200 Belarus
Belarus
(source), Lithuania, Russia

Kemijoki 556 550 (main river) 600 (river system) 51,127 Finland, Norway
Norway
(source of Ounasjoki) longer tributary Kitinen

Oder 540 866 118,861 Czech Republic
Czech Republic
(source), Poland, Germany

Lule älv 506 461 25,240 Sweden

Narva 415 77 (nominal) 652 (hydrological) 56,200 Russia
Russia
(Source of Velikaya), Estonia Velikaya (430 km) → Lake Peipus
Lake Peipus
(145 km) → Narva

Torne älv 388 520 (nominal) 630 (hydrological) 40,131 Norway
Norway
(source), Sweden, Finland Válfojohka → Kamajåkka → Abiskojaure → Abiskojokk (total 40 km) → Torneträsk
Torneträsk
(70 km) → Torne älv

Islands and archipelagoes[edit] Main article: List of islands in the Baltic Sea

Skerries form an integral and typical part of many of the archipelagos of the Baltic Sea, such as these in the archipelago of the Åland Islands, Finland.

Stockholm
Stockholm
archipelago

Aerial view of Bornholm, Denmark

Åland Islands
Åland Islands
(Finland, autonomous) Archipelago
Archipelago
Sea
Sea
(Finland)

Pargas Nagu Korpo Houtskär Kustavi Kimito

Blekinge archipelago
Blekinge archipelago
(Sweden) Bornholm, including Christiansø
Christiansø
(Denmark) Falster
Falster
(Denmark) Gotland
Gotland
(Sweden) Hailuoto
Hailuoto
(Finland) Kotlin (Russia) Lolland
Lolland
(Denmark) Kvarken
Kvarken
archipelago, including Valsörarna
Valsörarna
(Finland) Møn
Møn
(Denmark) Öland
Öland
(Sweden) Rügen
Rügen
(Germany) Stockholm
Stockholm
archipelago (Sweden)

Värmdön
Värmdön
(Sweden)

Usedom
Usedom
or Uznam (split between Germany
Germany
and Poland) West Estonian archipelago
West Estonian archipelago
(Estonia):

Hiiumaa Muhu Saaremaa Vormsi

Wolin
Wolin
(Poland) Zealand
Zealand
(Denmark)

Coastal countries[edit]

Vast coastal dunes are characteristic for large parts of the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. Kuršių Nerija National Park
Kuršių Nerija National Park
in Lithuania (pictured) is a part of the Curonian Spit
Curonian Spit
World Heritage Site.

Population density in the Baltic Sea
Sea
catchment area

Countries that border the sea:  Denmark,  Estonia,  Finland,  Germany,  Latvia,  Lithuania,  Poland,  Russia,  Sweden. Countries that are in the drainage basin but do not border the sea:  Belarus,  Czech Republic,  Norway,  Slovakia,  Ukraine. The Baltic sea drainage basin is roughly four times the surface area of the sea itself. About 48% of the region is forested, with Sweden and Finland
Finland
containing the majority of the forest, especially around the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland. About 20% of the land is used for agriculture and pasture, mainly in Poland
Poland
and around the edge of the Baltic Proper, in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. About 17% of the basin is unused open land with another 8% of wetlands. Most of the latter are in the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland. The rest of the land is heavily populated. About 85 million people live in the Baltic drainage basin, 15 million within 10 km (6 mi) of the coast and 29 million within 50 km (31 mi) of the coast. Around 22 million live in population centers of over 250,000. 90% of these are concentrated in the 10 km (6 mi) band around the coast. Of the nations containing all or part of the basin, Poland
Poland
includes 45% of the 85 million, Russia
Russia
12%, Sweden
Sweden
10% and the others less than 6% each.[citation needed]

Tallinn
Tallinn
in Estonia

Helsinki
Helsinki
in Finland

Stockholm
Stockholm
in Sweden

Vasilyevsky Island
Vasilyevsky Island
in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Cities[edit] Main article: List of cities and towns around the Baltic Sea

The biggest coastal cities (by population):

Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
(Russia) 4,700,000 (metropolitan area 6,000,000) Stockholm
Stockholm
(Sweden) 843,139 (metropolitan area 2,046,103) Riga
Riga
(Latvia) 696,567 (metropolitan area 842,000) Helsinki
Helsinki
(Finland) 605,022 (metropolitan area 1,358,901) Gdańsk
Gdańsk
(Poland) 462,700 (metropolitan area 1,041,000) Tallinn
Tallinn
(Estonia) 435,245 (metropolitan area 542,983) Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
(Russia) 431,500 Szczecin
Szczecin
(Poland) 413,600 (metropolitan area 778,000) Gdynia
Gdynia
(Poland) 255,600 (metropolitan area 1,041,000) Kiel
Kiel
(Germany) 242,000[37] Espoo
Espoo
(Finland) 257,195 (part of Helsinki
Helsinki
metropolitan area) Lübeck
Lübeck
(Germany) 216,100 Rostock
Rostock
(Germany) 212,700 Klaipėda
Klaipėda
(Lithuania) 194,400 Oulu
Oulu
(Finland) 191,050 Turku
Turku
(Finland) 180,350

Other important ports: Estonia:

Pärnu
Pärnu
44,568 Maardu
Maardu
16,570 Sillamäe
Sillamäe
16,567

Finland:

Pori
Pori
83,272 Kotka
Kotka
54,887 Kokkola
Kokkola
46,809 Port of Naantali
Port of Naantali
18,789 Mariehamn
Mariehamn
11,372 Hanko
Hanko
9,270

Germany:

Stralsund
Stralsund
58,000 Greifswald
Greifswald
55,000 Wismar
Wismar
44,000 Eckernförde
Eckernförde
22,000 Neustadt in Holstein
Neustadt in Holstein
16,000 Wolgast
Wolgast
12,000 Sassnitz
Sassnitz
10,000

Latvia:

Liepāja
Liepāja
85,000 Ventspils
Ventspils
44,000

Lithuania:

Palanga
Palanga
15,000

Poland:

Kołobrzeg
Kołobrzeg
44,800 Świnoujście
Świnoujście
41,500 Police 34,284 Władysławowo
Władysławowo
15,000 Darłowo
Darłowo
14,000

Russia:

Vyborg
Vyborg
79,962 Baltiysk
Baltiysk
34,000

Sweden:

Norrköping
Norrköping
84,000 Gävle
Gävle
69,000 Trelleborg
Trelleborg
26,000 Karlshamn
Karlshamn
19,000 Oxelösund
Oxelösund
11,000

Geology[edit] Main article: Geology
Geology
of the Baltic Sea

Ancylus Lake
Ancylus Lake
around 8700 years BP. The relic of Scandinavian Glacier in white. The rivers Svea älv (Svea river) and Göta älv
Göta älv
formed an outlet to the Atlantic.

Much of modern Finland
Finland
is former seabed or archipelago: illustrated are sea levels immediately after the last ice age.

Evolution of the Baltic Sea

Pleistocene

Eemian Sea
Sea
(130,000–115,000 BP) Ice sheets and seas (115,000–12,600 BP)

Holocene

Baltic Ice Lake
Baltic Ice Lake
(12,600–10,300 BP) Yoldia Sea
Sea
(10,300–9,500 BP) Ancylus Lake
Ancylus Lake
(9,500–8,000 BP) Mastogloia Sea
Sea
(8,000–7,500 BP) Littorina
Littorina
Sea
Sea
(7,500–4,000 BP) Modern Baltic Sea
Sea
(4,000 BP–present)

v t e

The Baltic Sea
Sea
somewhat resembles a riverbed, with two tributaries, the Gulf of Finland
Finland
and Gulf of Bothnia. Geological surveys show that before the Pleistocene, instead of the Baltic Sea, there was a wide plain around a great river paleontologists call the Eridanos. Several Pleistocene
Pleistocene
glacial episodes scooped out the river bed into the sea basin. By the time of the last, or Eemian Stage
Eemian Stage
(MIS 5e), the Eemian Sea
Sea
was in place. Instead of a true sea, the Baltic can even today also be understood as the common estuary of all rivers flowing into it. From that time the waters underwent a geologic history summarized under the names listed below. Many of the stages are named after marine animals (e.g. the Littorina
Littorina
mollusk) that are clear markers of changing water temperatures and salinity. The factors that determined the sea's characteristics were the submergence or emergence of the region due to the weight of ice and subsequent isostatic readjustment, and the connecting channels it found to the North Sea-Atlantic, either through the straits of Denmark or at what are now the large lakes of Sweden, and the White Sea-Arctic Sea.

Eemian Sea, 130,000–115,000 (years ago) Baltic Ice Lake, 12,600–10,300 Yoldia Sea, 10,300–9500 Ancylus Lake, 9,500–8,000 Mastogloia Sea
Sea
8,000–7,500 Littorina
Littorina
Sea, 7,500–4,000 Post- Littorina
Littorina
Sea
Sea
4,000–present

The land is still emerging isostatically from its depressed state, which was caused by the weight of ice during the last glaciation. The phenomenon is known as post-glacial rebound. Consequently, the surface area and the depth of the sea are diminishing. The uplift is about eight millimetres per year on the Finnish coast of the northernmost Gulf of Bothnia. In the area, the former seabed is only gently sloping, leading to large areas of land being reclaimed in what are, geologically speaking, relatively short periods (decades and centuries). The "Baltic Sea
Sea
anomaly"[edit] Main article: Baltic Sea
Sea
anomaly The "Baltic Sea
Sea
anomaly" refers to interpretations of an indistinct sonar image taken by Swedish salvage divers on the floor of the northern Baltic Sea
Sea
in June 2011. The treasure hunters suggested the image showed an object with unusual features of seemingly extraordinary origin. Speculation published in tabloid newspapers claimed that the object was a sunken UFO. A consensus of experts and scientists say that the image most likely shows a natural geological formation.[38][39][40][41][42] Biology[edit] Fauna[edit] See also: List of fish in Sweden The fauna of the Baltic sea is a mixture of marine and freshwater species. Among marine fishes are cod, herring, hake, plaice, flounder, shorthorn sculpin, stickleback and turbot, and examples of freshwater species include perch, pike, whitefish and roach. There is a decrease in faunal species from the Belts to the Gulf of Bothnia. The decreasing salinity along this path causes restrictions in both physiology and habitats.[43] The lack of tides has affected the marine species as compared with the Atlantic. Since the Baltic Sea
Sea
is so young there are only a few endemic species. The mostly asexually reproducing brown alga Fucus radicans
Fucus radicans
seems to have evolved in the basin. Another endemic is the Copenhagen
Copenhagen
cockle parvicardium hauniense. However, several marine species have populations in the Baltic Sea
Sea
adapted to the low salinity, such as the Baltic Sea
Sea
herring which is smaller than the Atlantic herring. A peculiar feature of the fauna is that it contains a number of glacial relict species, isolated populations of arctic species which have remained in the Baltic Sea
Sea
since the last glaciation, such as the large isopod Saduria entomon, the Baltic subspecies of ringed seal, and the fourhorn sculpin. Some of these relicts are derived from glacial lakes, such as Monoporeia affinis, which is a main element in the benthic fauna of the low-salinity Bothnian Bay. Cetaceans in Baltic Sea
Sea
have been monitored by the ASCOBANS. Critically endangered populations of Atlantic white-sided dolphins and harbor porpoises inhabit the sea where white-colored porpoises have been recorded,[44] and occasionally oceanic and out-of-range species such as minke whales,[45] bottlenose dolphins,[46] beluga whales,[47] orcas,[48] and beaked whales[49] visit the waters. In recent years, very small, but with increasing rates, fin whales[50][51][52][53] and humpback whales migrate into Baltic sea including mother and calf pair.[54] Now extinct Atlantic grey whales (remains found from Gräsö along Bothnian Sea/southern Bothnian Gulf[55] and Ystad[56]) and eastern population of North Atlantic right whales that is facing functional extinction[57] once migrated into Baltic Sea.[58] Strandings of Leatherback turtles have been recorded in Baltic Sea, too.[59] Other notable megafauna include the basking sharks.[60] Environmental status[edit] Further information: Baltic Sea
Sea
hypoxia

Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton
algal bloom in the Baltic Proper, July 2001

Satellite images taken in July 2010 revealed a massive algal bloom covering 377,000 square kilometres (146,000 sq mi) in the Baltic Sea. The area of the bloom extended from Germany
Germany
and Poland
Poland
to Finland. Researchers of the phenomenon have indicated that algal blooms have occurred every summer for decades. Fertilizer runoff from surrounding agricultural land has exacerbated the problem and led to increased eutrophication.[61] Approximately 100,000 km2 (38,610 sq mi) of the Baltic's seafloor (a quarter of its total area) is a variable dead zone. The more saline (and therefore denser) water remains on the bottom, isolating it from surface waters and the atmosphere. This leads to decreased oxygen concentrations within the zone. It is mainly bacteria that grow in it, digesting organic material and releasing hydrogen sulfide. Because of this large anaerobic zone, the seafloor ecology differs from that of the neighbouring Atlantic. Plans to artificially oxygenate areas of the Baltic that have experienced eutrophication have been proposed by the University of Gothenburg and Inocean AB. The proposal intends to use wind-driven pumps to inject oxygen (air) into waters at, or around, 130m below sea level.[62] Economy[edit] See also: Baltic Sea
Sea
cruiseferries and Ports of the Baltic Sea

Pedestrian pier at Palanga, the most popular sea resort in Lithuania

Construction of the Great Belt
Great Belt
Bridge in Denmark
Denmark
(completed 1997) and the Øresund
Øresund
Bridge-Tunnel (completed 1999), linking Denmark
Denmark
with Sweden, provided a highway and railroad connection between Sweden
Sweden
and the Danish mainland (the Jutland Peninsula, precisely the Zealand). The undersea tunnel of the Øresund
Øresund
Bridge-Tunnel provides for navigation of large ships into and out of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea
Sea
is the main trade route for export of Russian petroleum. Many of the countries neighboring the Baltic Sea
Sea
have been concerned about this, since a major oil leak in a seagoing tanker would be disastrous for the Baltic—given the slow exchange of water. The tourism industry surrounding the Baltic Sea
Sea
is naturally concerned about oil pollution. Much shipbuilding is carried out in the shipyards around the Baltic Sea. The largest shipyards are at Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Szczecin, Poland; Kiel, Germany; Karlskrona
Karlskrona
and Malmö, Sweden; Rauma, Turku, and Helsinki, Finland; Riga, Ventspils, and Liepāja, Latvia; Klaipėda, Lithuania; and Saint Petersburg, Russia. There are several cargo and passenger ferries that operate on the Baltic Sea, such as Scandlines, Silja Line, Polferries, the Viking Line, Tallink, and Superfast Ferries. Tourism[edit]

Svetlogorsk resort town in Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
Oblast, Russia

Mrzeżyno
Mrzeżyno
beach in Poland

Piers

Ahlbeck (Usedom), Germany Heiligendamm, Germany Liepaja, Latvia Klaipėda, Lithuania Gdynia, Poland Kołobrzeg, Poland Misdroy, Poland Sopot, Poland

Resort towns

Pärnu, Estonia Hanko, Finland Mariehamn, Finland Ueckermünde, Germany Travemünde, Germany Jūrmala, Latvia Nida, Lithuania Palanga, Lithuania Kamień Pomorski, Poland Kołobrzeg, Poland Sopot, Poland Świnoujście, Poland Ustka, Poland Svetlogorsk, Russia

The Helsinki
Helsinki
Convention[edit] 1974 Convention[edit] For the first time ever, all the sources of pollution around an entire sea were made subject to a single convention, signed in 1974 by the then seven Baltic coastal states. The 1974 Convention entered into force on 3 May 1980. 1992 Convention[edit] Main article: Helsinki
Helsinki
Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea
Sea
Area In the light of political changes and developments in international environmental and maritime law, a new convention was signed in 1992 by all the states bordering on the Baltic Sea, and the European Community. After ratification the Convention entered into force on 17 January 2000. The Convention covers the whole of the Baltic Sea
Sea
area, including inland waters and the water of the sea itself, as well as the seabed. Measures are also taken in the whole catchment area of the Baltic Sea
Sea
to reduce land-based pollution. The Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea
Sea
Area, 1992, entered into force on 17 January 2000. The governing body of the Convention is the Helsinki
Helsinki
Commission,[63] also known as HELCOM, or Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. The present contracting parties are Denmark, Estonia, the European Community, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia
Russia
and Sweden. The ratification instruments were deposited by the European Community, Germany, Latvia
Latvia
and Sweden
Sweden
in 1994, by Estonia
Estonia
and Finland
Finland
in 1995, by Denmark
Denmark
in 1996, by Lithuania
Lithuania
in 1997 and by Poland
Poland
and Russia
Russia
in November 1999. See also[edit]

Baltic (other) Baltic region Baltic Sea
Sea
Action Group (BSAG) Baltic states Council of the Baltic Sea
Sea
States Nord Stream Northern Europe

Ports of the Baltic Sea Scandinavia SS Cap Arcona Ms Estonia MS Wilhelm Gustloff List of cities and towns around the Baltic Sea List of rivers of the Baltic Sea

References[edit] Notes

^ A healthy serum concentration of sodium is around 0.8–0.85%, and healthy kidneys can concentrate salt in urine to at least 1.4%.

^ "Coalition Clean Baltic". Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.  ^ Gunderson, Lance H.; Pritchard, Lowell (1 October 2002). "Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems". Island Press – via Google Books.  ^ "Text of Helsinki
Helsinki
Convention".  ^ "Sundzoll".  ^ "Fragen zum Meer (Antworten) - IOW". www.io-warnemuende.de.  ^ Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI): The BaltSens Project – The sensitivity of the Baltic Sea
Sea
ecosystems to hazardous compounds[dead link] ^ Tacitus, Germania(online text): Ergo iam dextro Suebici maris litore Aestiorum gentes adluuntur, quibus ritus habitusque Sueborum, lingua Britannicae propior. – "Upon the right of the Suevian Sea
Sea
the Æstyan nations reside, who use the same customs and attire with the Suevians; their language more resembles that of Britain." (English text online) ^ Ptolemy, Geography III, chapter 5: "Sarmatia in Europe
Europe
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Sea
is called Mare Germanicum, whereas the Northern Sea
Sea
is called Oceanus Germanicus. ^ "The History of Russian Amber, Part 1: The Beginning", Leta.st ^ Wend – West Wend. Britannica.com. Retrieved on 23 June 2011. ^ Chemical Weapon Time Bomb Ticks in the Baltic Sea
Sea
Deutsche Welle, 1 February 2008. ^ Activities 2006: Overview Archived 14 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Baltic Sea
Sea
Environment Proceedings No. 112. Helsinki Commission. ^ Sztobryn, Marzenna; Stigge, Hans-Joachim; Wielbińska, Danuta; Weidig, Bärbel; Stanisławczyk, Ida; Kańska, Alicja; Krzysztofik, Katarzyna; Kowalska, Beata; Letkiewicz, Beata; Mykita, Monika (2005). "Sturmfluten in der südlichen Ostsee (Westlicher und mittlerer Teil)" [Storm floods in the Southern Baltic (western and central part)] (PDF). Berichte des Bundesamtes für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (in German) (39): 6. [dead link] ^ "Sturmfluten an der Ostseeküste – eine vergessene Gefahr?" [Storm floods along the Baltic Sea
Sea
coastline – a forgotten threat?]. Informations-, Lern-, und Lehrmodule zu den Themen Küste, Meer und Integriertes Küstenzonenmanagement. EUCC Die Küsten Union Deutschland e. V. Retrieved 2 July 2012.  Citing Weiss, D. "Schutz der Ostseeküste von Mecklenburg-Vorpommern". In Kramer, J.; Rohde, H. Historischer Küstenschutz: Deichbau, Inselschutz und Binnenentwässerung an Nord- und Ostsee [Historical coastal protection: construction of dikes, insular protection and inland drainage at North Sea
Sea
and Baltic Sea] (in German). Stuttgart: Wittwer. pp. 536–567.  ^ Tiesel, Reiner (October 2003). "Sturmfluten an der deutschen Ostseeküste" [Storm floods at the German Baltic Sea
Sea
coasts]. Informations-, Lern-, und Lehrmodule zu den Themen Küste, Meer und Integriertes Küstenzonenmanagement (in German). EUCC Die Küsten Union Deutschland e. V. Retrieved 2 July 2012.  ^ "Baltic Sea
Sea
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Sea
Area". Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2005. CS1 maint: Unfit url (link) at envir.ee. (archived) (2006-04-21). Retrieved on 23 June 2011. ^ p. 7 ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2010.  ^ "Baltic Sea
Sea
area clickable map". www.baltic.vtt.fi.  ^ Helsingin Sanomat, 16 February 2011, p. A8. ^ Derham, William Physico-Theology: Or, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God from His Works of Creation (London, 1713). ^ Helsingin Sanomat, 10 February 2011, p. A4; 25 February 2011, p. A5; 11 June 2011, p. A12. ^ Sea
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Ice Survey Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin. ^ "Nödåret 1867". Byar i Luleå. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27.  ^ "Isvintrene i 40'erne". TV 2.  ^ "1771 - Nationalmuseet".  ^ "Is i de danske farvande i 1700-tallet". Nationalmuseet.  ^ a b Alhonen, p. 88 ^ "The Baltic Sea: Its Past, Present and Future" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2007.   (352 KB), Jan Thulin and Andris Andrushaitis, Religion, Science and the Environment Symposium V on the Baltic Sea
Sea
(2003). ^ Statistische Kurzinformation Archived 11 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (in German). Landeshauptstadt Kiel. Amt für Kommunikation, Standortmarketing und Wirtschaftsfragen Abteilung Statistik. Retrieved on 11 October 2012. ^ Mikkelson, David. " UFO
UFO
at the Bottom of the Baltic Sea? Rumor: Photograph shows a UFO
UFO
discovered at the bottom of the Baltic Sea". Urban Legends Reference Pages© 1995-2017 by Snopes.com. Snopes.com. Retrieved 1 August 2017.  ^ Kershner, Kate. "What is the Baltic Sea
Sea
anomaly?". How Stuff Works. HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2017.  ^ Wolchover, Natalie. "Mysterious' Baltic Sea
Sea
Object Is a Glacial Deposit". Live Science. Live Science, Purch. Retrieved 1 August 2017.  ^ Main, Douglas (January 2, 2012). "Underwater UFO? Get Real, Experts Say". Popular Mechanics.  ^ Interview of Finnish planetary geomorphologist Jarmo Korteniemi (at 1:10:45) on Mars Moon Space Tv (2017-01-30), Baltic Sea
Sea
Anomaly. The Unsolved Mystery. Part 1-2, retrieved 2018-03-14  ^ Lockwood, A. P. M.; Sheader, M.; Williams, J. A. (1998). "Life in Estuaries, Salt
Salt
Marshes, Lagoons and Coastal Waters". In Summerhayes, C. P.; Thorpe, S. A. Oceanography: An Illustrated Guide (2nd ed.). London: Manson Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 1-874545-37-5.  ^ "White harbour porpoise sighting in Baltic Sea". 10 June 2015.  ^ Minke whale
Minke whale
(Balaenoptera acutorostrata) - MarLIN, The Marine Life Information Network ^ "Baltic dolphin sightings confirmed".  ^ About the beluga - Russian Geographical Society ^ "Orcinus orca (Killer Whale, Orca)". www.iucnredlist.org.  ^ "Rare Sowerby's beaked whale spotted in the Baltic Sea".  ^ "Wieder Finnwal in der Ostsee". Archived from the original on 15 April 2016.  ^ KG, Ostsee-Zeitung GmbH & Co. "Finnwal in der Ostsee gesichtet". www.ostsee-zeitung.de.  ^ Allgemeine, Augsburger. "Angler filmt Wal in Ostsee-Bucht".  ^ Jansson N.. 2007. ”Vi såg valen i viken”. Aftonbladet. Retrieved on September 7, 2017 ^ "Whales seen again in the waters of the Baltic Sea".  ^ Jones L.M..Swartz L.S.. Leatherwood S.. The Gray Whale: Eschrichtius Robustus. "Eastern Atlantic Specimens". pp 41-44. Academic Press. Retrieved on September 05, 2017 ^ Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Occurrence Detail 1322462463. Retrieved on September 21, 2017 ^ "North Atlantic right whale".  ^ "Regional Species Extinctions - Examples of regional species extinctions over the last 1000 years and more" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2011.  ^ "Rare Animals Are Mysteriously Turning Up in Denmark
Denmark
- Mysterious Universe". mysteriousuniverse.org.  ^ http://deski.fi/download.php?file_name=BlnrYjTbXR.pdf ^ "Satellite spies vast algal bloom in Baltic Sea". BBC News. 23 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.  ^ "Oxygenation at a Depth of 120 Meters Could Save the Baltic Sea, Researchers Demonstrate". Science Daily.  ^ Helcom : Welcome Archived 6 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Helcom.fi. Retrieved on 23 June 2011.

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Bibliography

Alhonen, Pentti (1966). "Baltic Sea". In Fairbridge, Rhodes. The Encyclopedia of Oceanography. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. pp. 87–91. 

Further reading

Aarno Voipio (ed., 1981): "The Baltic Sea." Elsevier Oceanography Series, vol. 30, Elsevier Scientific Publishing, 418 p, ISBN 0-444-41884-9 Ojaveer, H.; Jaanus, A.; MacKenzie, B. R.; Martin, G.; Olenin, S.; et al. (2010). "Status of Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea". PLoS ONE. 5 (9): e12467. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012467.  Peter, Bruce (2009). Baltic Ferries. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608057.  The BACC II Author Team, , et.al (2015). Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea
Sea
Basin. Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16006-1. ISBN 978-3-319-16006-1. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baltic Sea.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia
American Cyclopædia
article Baltic Sea.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Baltic Sea.

The Baltic Sea, Kattegat
Kattegat
and Skagerak – sea areas and drainig basins, poster with integral information by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute Baltic Sea
Sea
clickable map and details. Protect the Baltic Sea
Sea
while it's still not too late. The Baltic Sea
Sea
Portal
Portal
– a site maintained by the"Finnish Institute of Marine Research". Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2007. CS1 maint: Unfit url (link) (FIMR) (in English, Finnish, Swedish and Estonian) www.balticnest.org Encyclopedia of Baltic History Old shipwrecks in the Baltic How the Baltic Sea
Sea
was changing – Prehistory of the Baltic from the Polish Geological Institute Late Weichselian and Holocene shore displacement history of the Baltic Sea
Sea
in Finland
Finland
– more prehistory of the Baltic from the Department of Geography of the University of Helsinki Baltic Environmental Atlas: Interactive map of the Baltic Sea
Sea
region Can a New Cleanup Plan Save the Sea? – spiegel.de List of all ferry lines in the Baltic Sea The Helsinki
Helsinki
Commission (HELCOM) HELCOM
HELCOM
is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea
Sea
Area" Baltice.org – information related to winter navigation in the Baltic Sea. Baltic Sea
Sea
Wind – Marine weather forecasts Ostseeflug – A short film (55'), showing the coastline and the major German cities at the Baltic sea.

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