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Understanding global water quality trends

Humans have a profound impact on the environment.  By better understanding our impacts we allow the opportunity to change and protect or natural resources.  The Coastal Eutrophication App was built to map and show trends in water quality for all countries of the world.  In providing this information countries have foundational resources to understand hot spots (repetitive anomalies) implement a water quality monitoring plan and begin to determine sources of potential pollution.

Human impacts on water quality.
Human impacts on water quality.

Eutrophication is a process driven by enrichment of waters by nutrients, especially compounds of nitrogen or phosphorus, leading to increased growth, primary production, and biomass of algae resulting in adverse changes in the balance of organisms and water quality.

This work was done in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.1 – “Life Below Water”.  A collaborative team including scientist from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), United Nations Environment Programe and Esri led by GEO Blue Planet have been working and reporting results for SDG 14.1.1.a for the past 4 years that are accessible here.

Sustainable Development Goal 14.1.1a team.
Sustainable Development Goal 14.1.1a team.

The Coastal Eutrophication App supplements the data by providing an interface for spatial exploration and sharing. The URL is “smart” and allows users to share their current view of interest with others that might be interested in looking at the same phenomena in the app.

Coastal Eutrophication app showing water quality trend over time.
Coastal Eutrophication app showing water quality trend over time.
Coastal Eutrophication app showing comparison to other countries in the region.
Coastal Eutrophication app showing comparison to other countries in the region.

This Story Map explains the methodology that was used to preform the spatial analysis and walks you through how the pixel-based analysis was turned into monthly reporting results.  Special thanks to the talented Raluca Nicola for helping aggregate the data and building the web application and to John Nelson for UI/UX support.

For more info see the chlorophyll-hub.

About the authors

Keith is a Product Engineer at Esri. He serves as the Ocean Curator for the Living Atlas of the World team. Keith works to create foundational layers that can help marine researchers, scientists, and others gain a better understanding of our oceans.

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Raluca works as a web cartographer with the Geo Experience Center team at Esri. She loves to play around with web technologies and visualization styles. If she's not in front of the computer, she's probably somewhere up in the mountains.

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I have far too much fun looking for ways to understand and present data visually, hopefully driving product strategy and engaging users. I work in the ArcGIS Living Atlas team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways and then sharing the process. I also design user experiences for maps and apps. When I'm not doing those things, I'm chasing around toddlers and wrangling chickens, and generally getting into other ad-hoc adventures. Life is good. You might also like these Styles for ArcGIS Pro: esriurl.com/nelsonstyles

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