Environmental monitoring and data hosting sediments

SGU performs the national environmental monitoring of offshore sediments and is the data host for marine and lake sediments.

National environmental monitoring

Environmental monitoring aims to give a picture of the state of the environment and to provide input data to detect changes in the environment over time. Responsibility for environmental monitoring in Sweden rests with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, and consists of several different programme areas covering Air, Water and Land. The parameters monitored are controlled by environmental objectives, legislative requirements, EU Directives and by Sweden's commitments under international conventions. Sweden's environmental work is based largely on the results of national environmental monitoring.

In the environmental monitoring programme area "Coast and Sea", which provides follow-up documentation for the national environmental quality objectives, there are four objectives that specifically relate to the marine environment: "A Balanced Marine Environment, Flourishing Coastal Areas and Archipelagos", "Zero Eutrophication", "A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life" and "A Non-Toxic Environment".

The programme area "Coast and Sea" covers several sub-programmes. One of these, the national sub-programme "Metals and organic environmental toxins in sediments", is carried out by SGU on behalf of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.  Its primary purpose is to report states and trends of environmental toxin load in the major sea basins: the Bothnian Bay, the Bothnian Sea, the Baltic Proper, Kattegat and Skagerrak. The programme encompasses sediment sampling at 16 offshore stations and covers all major sea basins where undisturbed accumulation of fine-grained material continuously takes place, see map below. Sampling was carried out in 2003, 2008 and 2014, and is in future scheduled to be performed every six years.

Sediment sampling takes place during the summer half of the year. In the autumn of the same year, chemical analysis is performed of elements and organic carbon and nitrogen. Analysis of organic environmental toxins usually takes place in the following year.

Since 2014, the programme also includes measurements of oxygen content, turbidity, salinity, temperature, current speed and current direction of the bottom water at each sampling station.

The results of sampling in 2014 will be presented via SGU's map viewer and reported to OSPAR, HELCOM and ICES via the ICES platform for environmental monitoring data.

Data hosting - sediments

National and regional environmental monitoring collects a great quantity of data. SGU is the database host for sediment chemistry and environmental chemistry data from the samples taken on sediments in Sweden. Data hosting has been established by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to quality control, store, make available and archive environmental data produced by national and regional environmental monitoring.

Sediment samples are taken all over Sweden where accumulation bottoms occur. Where sediments accumulate, there is also accumulation of environmental toxins and other substances. The analysis of sediment samples has become a significant tool in environmental monitoring.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management finance national environmental monitoring in Sweden and normally own the copyright to the data collected. Data may be used freely if the source is stated as follows: Swedish environmental monitoring, data host SGU.

The "Environmental monitoring, marine and lake sediments" map viewer allows you to download data and produce a graphical representation of time series and statistics, provided that data is available from different years at the station in question. Click on the point symbolising the relevant sampling station to retrieve data. You can also go via the list of counties to obtain graphical information and statistics.

The "Environmental monitoring, marine and lake sediments" map viewer (in Swedish, new window)

Read the report "Chemical contamination in offshore sediments 2003–2014. SGU-rapport 2016:04 (new window)

Last reviewed 2022-05-31