NASA MODIS Image of the day
Phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic Ocean
Phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic Ocean
March 24, 2018

A wide, sinuous band of blues and greens stained the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean in early March 2018. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this true color image on March 10.

The multi-colored stain was created by a natural bloom of phytoplankton, which are microscopic, plant-like organisms that are important for carbon cycling. Some phytoplankton live in the cold ocean waters here year-round and form the base of the marine food web. In the lengthening days of spring, when daylight, water temperature, and nutrient upwelling all become ideal, the organisms begin to reproduce explosively and create massive blooms. When this happens, the chlorophyll and other pigments found in the phytoplankton can color the water so intensely that it is easily seen from space.

This particular bloom floats in the waters about 200 miles south-east of Newfoundland. Similar – and often even more massive – blooms are common across the North Atlantic in the spring and summer.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 3/10/2018
Resolutions: 500m (183.8 KB), 250m (458.9 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
 Courtesy of NASA MODIS Website

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