Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earth from space: Summer in bloom

Date:
August 26, 2011
Source:
European Space Agency (ESA)
Summary:
The phytoplankton bloom pictured in a new Envisat image stretches across the Barents Sea off the coast of mainland Europe’s most northern point, Cape Nordkinn.

The phytoplankton bloom pictured in this Envisat image stretches across the Barents Sea off the coast of mainland Europe’s most northern point, Cape Nordkinn. Although most types of phytoplankton are individually microscopic, the chlorophyll they use for photosynthesis collectively tints the colour of the surrounding ocean waters.
Credit: ESA

The phytoplankton bloom pictured in a new Envisat image stretches across the Barents Sea off the coast of mainland Europe's most northern point, Cape Nordkinn.

The southern area of this deep shelf sea -- with an average depth of 230 m -- remains mostly ice-free due to the warm North Atlantic Drift. This contributes to its high biological production compared to other oceans of similar latitude.

Free-floating phytoplankton highlight the whirls of ocean currents in spectacular shades of blue and green. These microscopic marine organisms that drift on or near the surface of oceans and seas have been called 'the grass of the sea' because they are the foundation of the oceanic food chain.

The simple organisms also play a similar role to terrestrial 'green' plants in the photosynthetic process. Phytoplankton are able to convert inorganic compounds such as water, nitrogen and carbon into complex organic materials.

With their ability to 'digest' these compounds, they are credited with removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as their 'cousins' on land -- therefore having a profound influence on climate.

They are also sensitive to environmental changes, so it is important to monitor and model phytoplankton into calculations of future climate change.

Although most types of phytoplankton are individually microscopic, the chlorophyll they use for photosynthesis collectively tints the colour of the surrounding ocean waters. This allows for these tiny organisms to be detected from space with dedicated 'ocean colour' sensors, such as Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer, which acquired this image on 17 August 2011.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency (ESA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency (ESA). "Earth from space: Summer in bloom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110826085149.htm>.
European Space Agency (ESA). (2011, August 26). Earth from space: Summer in bloom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110826085149.htm
European Space Agency (ESA). "Earth from space: Summer in bloom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110826085149.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins