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46. The Archipelago Sea • Finland

We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit A Sea that is More Like a Labyrinth Navigating the labyrinth of the Archipelago Sea off the coast of Finland in the Baltic Sea is a hazardous business due to its varying depths and abundant rocks. The archipelago consists of roughly 40,000 islands if you count every rock that breaks the surface, but only 257 of them measure more than one square kilometre and even fewer are inhabited. Emerging after the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, the islands are still in a post-glacial rebound process, rising 4-10 mm a year. The old islands are growing and newer small ones constantly emerge from the shallow water, where the mean depth is only 23 metres. The sea freezes over during cold winters, making it possible to drive on the ice, and official ice roads are laid out to connect the islands. For centuries, fish has been a vital source of food for the islanders; even when the crops failed, seafood was always available. Despite the growth of tourism, fishing is still the primary source of income in the region, which is particularly famous for its Baltic herring and rainbow trout. The Archipelago Sea is exposed to what is known as eutrophication. This is where nutrient pollution from sewage effluent or the run-off from fertilisers stimulates algal bloom in shallow, brackish waters like the Archipelago Sea. Besides making the water cloudy, the algal bloom causes a lack of oxygen and reduces the amount of food, affecting the health of fish species like salmon, trout and Baltic herring. Global climate change and the associated rising temperatures, decreasing ice cover and increasing winter rainfall, are expected to exacerbate eutrophication, with potentially damaging consequences for biodiversity, tourism and fishing in the Archipelago Sea.
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