The Baltic Sea is one of the most investigated water bodies in the world. For
decades, the many highly industrialised nations around the Baltic have financed
basic and applied investigations, as well as the building and development of
research stations and vessels.
After World War II, research in the Baltic Proper was intensified and investigations
became much more international. The main goals of such investigations were
analysis of the eutrophication and pollution of the Baltic Sea, and development of
mitigating strategies (e.g. the HELCOM-Program).
Widespread thermal anomalies in 1997–1998,
due primarily to regional effects of the El Nin˜ o–Southern
Oscillation and possibly augmented by global
warming, caused severe coral bleaching worldwide.
Corals in all habitats alongthe Belizean barrier reef
bleached as a result of elevated sea temperatures in the
summer and fall of 1998, and in fore-reef habitats of the
outer barrier reef and offshore platforms they showed
signs of recovery in 1999. In contrast, coral populations
on reefs in the central shelf lagoon died off catastrophically.
The island of Venice has been sinking perceptibly for centuries, but recent news is that
global warming is likely to accelerate the cataclysm that will take the city below a viable
water level in the lagoon. A possible parallel may be drawn with the unwritten British
constitution that some reformers have long been threatening to abandon, but which
continues to be the basis of a rather unusual system of government, one that is often
visited and sometimes admired by constitutional tourists from other countries.