Predicting oxygen in small estuaries of the Baltic Sea: a comparative approach

P. Kauppila, Jessica Meeuwig, H. Pitkanen

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    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Coastal eutrophication, manifested as hypoxia and anoxia, is a global problem. Only a few empirical models, however, exist to predict bottom oxygen concentration and percentage saturation from nutrient load or morphometry in coastal waters, which are successfully used to predict phytoplankton biomass both in lakes and in estuaries. Furthermore, hardly any empirical models exist to predict bottom oxygen from land-use. A data set was compiled for 19 estuaries in the northern Baltic Sea, which included oxygen concentration and percentage saturation, water chemistry, estuary morphometry, and land-use characteristics. In regression analyses, bottom oxygen was predicted both as a function of the percentage of watershed under agriculture and of mean depth. These models accounted for ca. 55% of the variation in oxygen. Additionally, oxygen was linked to fetch (diameter of the area in the direction of the prevailing wind), which accounted for 30% of the variation in oxygen. This suggests that shallow Finnish estuaries are wind-sensitive. In ‘pits’ (sub-thermocline waters of deep basins), near-bottom total nitrogen strongly correlated with oxygen percentage saturation (R2=0.81). Neither chlorophyll a, total phosphorus nor nutrient loading explained oxygen variation in entire estuaries or in ‘pits’, probably mainly due to annual sedimentation/sediment–water flux dynamics. On the basis of the results of cross-validation, the models have general applicability among Finnish estuaries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1115-1126
    JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
    Issue number5-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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