Developing a Water Quality Model (page 4)

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Author: Josie, Grade 8


The purpose of my project was to see whether two sites on the Chester River correlate or if their data moves together. I would be testing two sites, Gravel Run and Centerville Landing for a year, for each of six variables, air and water temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, pH, and turbidity/clarity. I already knew some about these but researched them in greater depth. I also found out about the effects of salt water and fresh water when they meet. I did this because freshwater from Gravel Run runs into Centreville Landing where it and tidal waters mix, and it gave me a better picture of what the water quality should be there. After finishing my background reading I predicted that nitrates, pH, dissolved oxygen and the air and water temperature would all have a positive correlation of approximately 1. This is because the data should move together for each of these variables. The turbidity/clarity should have a correlation of –1 because they are testing opposites. After monitoring Gravel Run and Centerville Landing for a year I had all my data. When analyzing the data I found that the only two tests that had a correlation close to one were the air and water temperature. All the other tests did not correlate at all or, had a correlation so close to zero it did not matter. I found out from this experiment that each site is so different and they actually should not correlate at all. There are so many factors that affect water quality and these factors are very different for Centreville Landing and Gravel Run. For further study on this experiment I plan to take knowledge gained this year and put into a long term project in the future of making a computer model to predict water quality. By finding that two sites do not affect each other, I now know that I would have to make a model very site specific.

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