Last update: September 18th, 2019 at 6:00 pm
A spring phytoplankton bloom filled the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean off of Iceland with swirls of blues and greens in late May 2016. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on May 20.
Such splashes of color are an annual event in the North Atlantic, and mark areas where millions of microscopic, plant-like organisms call phytoplankton are undergoing rapid reproduction. The North Atlantic bloom cab spread from the north, near Iceland, far to the south. The bloom usually peaks in late spring and persists through part of the summer. Although the blooms can last for many weeks, each individual organism typically lives only a few days.