Our ability to visualize scientific data has evolved significantly over the last 40 years. However, this advancement does not necessarily alleviate many common pitfalls in visualization for scientific journals, which can inhibit the ability of readers to effectively understand the information presented. To address this issue within the context of visualizing environmental data, we list ten guidelines for effective data visualization in scientific publications. These guidelines support the primary objective of data visualization, i.e. to effectively convey information. We believe that this small set of guidelines based on a review of key visualization literature can help researchers improve the communication of their results using effective visualization. Enhancement of environmental data visualization will further improve research presentation and communication within and across disciplines. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.