Visualization of multidimensional data helps in understanding complex systems and environments. We present here a red, green, blue (RGB) visualization method that can serve to display environmental properties. The saturation of each color is used to represent the concentration of a given property. The implementation of that figure is illustrated through visualization of three dissolved inorganic nutrient concentrations along a vertical transect of the Mediterranean, as well as through a vertical time series of three phytoplankton group cell numbers. The RGB figures show well known properties of the water column. In addition, they reveal some lesser-known properties, such as regions in shallow water in which the ratio of phosphorus and silica to nitrogen is high, and a deep eukariotic phytoplankton community. Visualization of such data is usually performed with three separate contour or surface plots, and occasionally two properties are presented as an overlay in a single figure. The RGB figure offers a better way to visualize the interactions among the three separate plots than is commonly available.
Suari, Y., & Brenner, S. (2014). RGB plots as a tool for the simultaneous visualization of multiple data layers in a two dimensional space. PLoS ONE, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102903