Marine Spatial Planning in a Changing Climate (MARISPLAN)

Climate change influences the physical, chemical and biological properties of the Baltic Sea. During the next 50 to 100 years, sea surface temperature has been estimated to increase by 1-4 degrees, along with decrease in salinity and the area covered by sea ice will diminish. Changes will occur in sea level, air pressure and wind conditions. Society, in turn, is affected directly by the climate and indirectly by the marine ecosystem. Conditions for agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, maritime traffic, building, recreation and energy production will be different. All these changes will induce major changes in the geographical distribution and population densities of plant and animal species. This will influence the focal areas for protecting the sea.

Objectives of the project

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process (UNESCO-IOC MSP Guidelines). The aim of MSP is to avoid conflicts between the various uses of the sea, and to avoid degradation and overuse of its ecosystem services.

MARISPLAN will investigate, with the aid of hydrodynamic, ecological, watershed and economic models how climate change will influence the ecosystem of the Baltic Sea and its uses. How the society can adapt its policies and uses of the marine ecosystem in a changing climate will be assessed, and GIS-based MSP tools will be developed. We will investigate three case study areas, Helsinki City sea area, the Archipelago Sea and the Quark-Bothnian Bay area, each of which are interesting from the point of view of MSP.


MARISPLAN is a collaboration of researchers of climate, oceanography, watersheds, marine ecosystems, socioeconomics and policy, based in Finnish Environment Institute, Meteorological Institute, Game and Fisheries Research Institute, MTT Agrifood Research Finland and City of Helsinki Environment Centre. Collaboration will be done with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and Estonian Marine Institute, Tallinn.

The project will be carried out through six following working packages (WP):

WP 1: Changes in physical environment of the Baltic Sea due to climate change (Adjunt. Prof. Jari Haapala, Marine research, Finnish Meteorological Institute)

WP 2: Assessment of Baltic Sea nutrient loads under changing climate (Adjunct. Prof. Bertel Vehviläinen, SYKE)

WP 3: Regional agricultural development under changing climate (Adjunct. Prof. Heikki Lehtonen, MTT)

WP 4: Changes in distribution of the Baltic Sea biota due to changing climate (Adjunct. Prof. Maiju Lehtiniemi)

WP 5: Changes in fish and fisheries at the Finnish coasts due tot changing climate (Dr. Lauri Urho, FGFRI)

WP6: Adaptation of society to climate change: challenges to marine spatial planning (Prof. Mikael Hildén, climate change research programme, SYKE)


The subprojects of MARISPLAN were started in 2011. The MARISPLAN Ph.D. student Reetta Ljungberg has started her work by investigating the effects of climatic variations to the geographical distribution of marine organisms in the Baltic Sea. Cooperation with Estonian and Swedish partners has been started by exchanging large data sets.

More information

Mr. Markku Viitasalo, Professor, Project Leader, Finnish Environment Centre , Marine Research Centre/Marine Spatial Planning Unit

Published 2013-04-09 at 12:21, updated 2013-04-09 at 12:21