EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Chemical munitions in the Baltic Sea – growing evidence of environmental impact

Jacek Bełdowski1, Jaromir Jakacki1, Paula Vanninen2, Kari Lehtonen3, Matthias Brenner4, Jacek Fabisiak5, Stanisław Popiel6, Michał Czub7, Jakub Nawała6, and Daniel Dziedzic6
Jacek Bełdowski et al.
  • 1Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland(
  • 2VERIFIN, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3SYKE Finnish Environmental Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 5Polish Naval Academy, Gdynia, Poland
  • 6Military University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland
  • 7University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

Over 38000 tons of chemical munitions were dumped in the Baltic Sea after World War II. They rest on the bottom of the Gotland and Bornholm Deeps. Studies performed between 2011 and 2019 show that those munitions are largely corroded, and chemical warfare agents (CWA) are released to the environment. Biomarker studies indicate, that they adversely affect marine biota from the dumpsites. Hydrodynamic models suggest that they can be transported with currents to adjacent areas. CWAs are transformed in the environment producing a variety of different degradation products, some of them characterized by higher toxicity than the parent compounds. An effort was undertaken to summarize the studies performed in three EU Interreg and one NATO SPS projects focusing on this problem.

How to cite: Bełdowski, J., Jakacki, J., Vanninen, P., Lehtonen, K., Brenner, M., Fabisiak, J., Popiel, S., Czub, M., Nawała, J., and Dziedzic, D.: Chemical munitions in the Baltic Sea – growing evidence of environmental impact, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6163,, 2023.