Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less
Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A pipeline being constructed in Pennsylvania. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday mandating federal agencies bypass key environmental reviews of energy and infrastructure projects.
Read More Show Less