Modeling Community Erosion from Climate Change

Submitted for Judging

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The "Modeling Community Erosion from Climate Change" application enables community members and leaders to understand the impact that climate change will have on soil erosion. It provides a basis for taking preventative action regarding infrastructure investments and soil conservation. The application is based on modeling current and future erosion with high-resolution scientific data. Over 150 GB of data are behind this App. The underlying model used is the modified universal soil loss equation(MUSLE), which incorporates soil, slope, precipitation, and land cover datasets. Future precipitation data is based on predictions from five climate models. The application was conceived and developed by Stone Environmental’s Applied Information Management team of environmental modelers, GIS specialists and programmers using multiple components of the ArcGIS platform specifically for the Climate Resilience App Challenge.

The application allows stakeholders to easily locate sites that are vulnerable to erosion including public, private, forested, developed, and agricultural lands. At user-selected sites, the App models present-day and future predictions of soil loss driven by climate change. Based on the type and severity of predicted erosion, users are directed toward different soil conservation resources. The App also allows users to investigate erosion risk for a variety of future land covers. The modeled data provides information on changes in annual total erosion, seasonal variations, and soil losses due to extreme precipitation events, as well as insight into the uncertainty associated with the predictions by incorporating data from multiple climate models.

In "Soil Erosion: A Food and Environmental Threat", an article from the Journal of the Environment, Development and Sustainability (Vol. 8, 2006) by David Pimentel, a Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, soil erosion statistics were pooled from more than 125 sources and reports. Some of his findings highlight the erosion challenges facing communities even without accounting for climate change. These key findings include:

• The United States is losing soil 10 times faster -- and China and India are losing soil 30 to 40 times faster -- than the natural replenishment rate.
• The economic impact of soil erosion in the United States costs the nation about $37.6 billion each year in productivity losses. Damage from soil erosion worldwide is estimated to be $400 billion per year.
• As a result of erosion over the past 40 years, 30 percent of the world's arable land has become unproductive.
• About 60 percent of soil that is washed away ends up in rivers, streams and lakes, making waterways more prone to flooding and to contamination from soil's fertilizers and pesticides.
• Soil erosion also reduces the ability of soil to store water and support plant growth, thereby reducing its ability to support biodiversity.
• Erosion exacerbates critical losses of water, nutrients, soil organic matter and soil biota, harming forests, rangeland and natural ecosystems.
• Erosion increases the amount of dust carried by wind, which not only acts as an abrasive and air pollutant but also carries about 20 human infectious disease organisms, including anthrax and tuberculosis.

User Guide:

The application is built using ArcGIS platform including:
-ArcGIS Desktop
-ArcGIS Server (custom geoprocessing services, map services, image services)
-ArcGIS JavaScript API
-Python and ArcPy plus NetCDF python libraries

In addition the following other tools were used in its development:
-Google Charts

Demo Video


HactionJackson over 1 year ago

Hey Team - A few hours left to go. Be sure to submit a 10-minute video along with a way to get to the app to actually test it! Good Luck!

SpatialThinking over 1 year ago

Our amazing winning submission is about 5 minutes away!

HactionJackson over 1 year ago

Hey Team...can you please email so we can talk more about your amazing submission and experience with the Challenge?
The Esri Climate App Challenge Development Team

David Healy
Naresh Pai
Charlie Hofmann
Katie Budreski
Lauren Padilla
Nick Floersch
Kelsey Lanan
Alan Hammersmith