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 September 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 September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Was The Biggest Climate March In History Underreported?

Was The Biggest Climate March In History Underreported?

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The People's Climate March in New York City drew more than 300,000 people, possibly a record-breaking number. Was the march underreported? 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:
from the past week

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