Spring Bloom Colors the Pacific Near Hokkaido



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English: This image illustrates how the convergence of the Oyashio and Kuroshio currents affect phytoplankton. When two currents with different temperatures and densities (cold, Arctic water is saltier and denser than subtropical waters) collide, they create eddies. Phytoplankton growing in the surface waters become concentrated along the boundaries of these eddies, tracing out the motions of the water. The swirls of colour visible in the waters south-east of Hokkaido (upper left), show where different kinds of phytoplankton are using chlorophyll and other pigments to capture sunlight and produce food. The bright blues just offshore of Hokkaido may be churned up sediment, rather than phytoplankton. The washed out appearance of the image at lower left is from sun glint — the (blurred) mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water. At upper right, a plume of haze, perhaps smoke from fires in Mongolia and Russia, cuts across the scene.
Date 21 May 2009(2009-05-21)
Source NASA Earth Observatory
Author Norman Kuring

This image is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)


Public Domain


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