A significant relation was established between the maximum extent of sea ice covering the Baltic Sea and the hypoxic area in the deeper parts of the Baltic Proper, with a lag of 2 years: for the period 1970-2000, less ice was correlated with a smaller anoxic area. At the same time, maximum ice extent is subject to a long-term climate-related decline, due to higher air temperatures and an increased frequency of westerly winds. Together, this suggests that the hypoxic area will decrease in the coming decades. Internal sedimentary phosphorus-loading is closely related to the hypoxic area and hence would decrease as well. Wind strength variability did not have a significant additive effect to the variance in hypoxic area already explained by sea ice extent. The observed lag is in agreement with the order of magnitude of estimated residence times in the shallower sub-basins feeding the Baltic Proper, where ice extent varies most. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.