DEVELOPMENT OF A PROCESS FOR HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM LOCATION PREDICTION USING GIS AND TREND ANALYSIS FOR THE TERRESTRIAL WATERS OF KUWAIT Open Access
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The State of Kuwait is situated at the northwestern end of the Persian Gulf and has a population of 2.5 million people, the vast majority of whom live along the southeastern stretch of its 500 km coastline. Kuwait Bay, a shallow natural harbor situated at the eastern "mouth" of the country, lies within the euphotic zone year-round. It is exposed to many environmental stressors that originate from both point and non-point-sources, including marine aquaculture runoff and oil industry effluent. A combination of factors has led to a marked increase in harmful algal bloom (HAB) outbreaks over the past two decades resulting in high costs in both environmental and economic terms. The objective of this study was to attempt to develop a process to identify potential HAB "hotspots" using GIS and Holt-Winters' Additive seasonal trend analysis techniques in an effort to isolate the areas that are most prone to a future HAB outbreak. ArcGIS and Crystal Ball software were used to process and analyze data provided by the Kuwait Environmental Public Authority. The main parameters analyzed in the study were ambient water surface temperature, N:P ratio and dissolved oxygen. Data was projected over a one-year period and subsequently used to generate monthly rasters (digital images) that outlined any HAB "hotspots" present for the given month. The results showed that, although a broad snapshot of HAB-friendly conditions was produced for each month between May and October 2009, no specificity could be applied in the context of a definite algal outbreak. Further research is needed for a more accurate process to be developed, and this would be achievable with more frequent daily-represented data, a longer monitoring time and greater resource availability.