Quantcast

Black Sea's Stunning Plankton Bloom Can Be Seen From Space

Popular
MODIS on NASA's Aqua satellite captured the data for this image of an ongoing phytoplankton bloom in the Black Sea. NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

The turquoise swirls of the Black Sea's phytoplankton bloom can be seen all the way from space in a new image released by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite.

"The May ramp-up in reflectivity in the Black Sea, with peak brightness in June, seems consistent with results from other years," said NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center ocean scientist Norman Kuring.


The May 29 image shown above is a mosaic comprised of multiple satellite passes over the region.

Kuring, who does not study this area, noted that this year's bloom is one of the brightest since 2012.

According to NASA, the bright, milky swirls are caused by coccolithophores, a phytoplankton commonly found in the Black Sea. These microscopic plankton are plated with white calcium carbonate, and when aggregated in large numbers, these reflective plates are easily spotted from space.

These signature swirls are more commonly seen in the summer, but as Kuring explained, climate change could be altering the timing of phytoplankton blooms around the world.

Phytoplankton are microscopic marine organisms and an important food source for a wide range of sea creatures such as whales, shrimp, snails and jellyfish.

Phytoplankton make their own food from sunlight and dissolved nutrients but if too many nutrients are available, they can grow out of control and form harmful algal blooms. These blooms can lead to eutrophication—or dead zones—where low oxygen is lethal to marine life.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on Nov. 15, 2018 in Paradise, Calif. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.

Read More
Slowing deforestation, planting more trees, and cutting emissions of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases like methane could cut another 0.5 degrees C or more off global warming by 2100. South_agency / E+ / Getty Images

By Dana Nuccitelli

Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.

Read More
Sponsored
A baby burrowing owl perched outside its burrow on Marco Island, Florida. LagunaticPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.

Read More
Amazon and other tech employees participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice continue to protest today. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.

Read More
Locusts swarm from ground vegetation as people approach at Lerata village, near Archers Post in Samburu county, approximately 186 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 22. "Ravenous swarms" of desert locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia threaten to ravage the entire East Africa subregion, the UN warned on Jan. 20. TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images

East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.

Read More