Home to more than 160 million people, the Black Sea catchment area hasn't fared well in the face of increased human activity, least of all from developments along the banks of its tributary rivers.
With these trends set to continue and development remaining unsustainable, it is time to improve the management of vital natural resources in the 2.2-million-square-kilometer catchment area.
A European Union-funded project, enviroGRIDS, has done its part. The project team worked on building the region's monitoring capacities; developing a new analytical framework for modeling; and proposing several possible scenarios covering climate change, demographics and land cover.
Key to the enviroGRIDS project was identifying existing data and making the data available through a distributed spatial data infrastructure. The data range from rainfall and temperature to water quality and quantity, soil and land use information. Some of the data were previously private but are now accessible through simple Web services and tools, allowing users to see, distribute, analyze and visualize crucial information on the region's past, present and future states.
Image courtesy of CNES/Spot Image/ESA.