Last update: October 17th, 2019 at 9:00 am
On February 29, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of colorful blue-green water off the coast of South Australia.
The striking colors could be due to sediment brought to the surface when strong winds churn shallow waters. Some of the color is also due to phytoplankton blooms – microscopic plant-like organisms that live in this area. When conditions are right – just enough sunlight, perfect water temperature, and adequate nutrition – phytoplankton begin to grow rapidly, creating large blooms that can easily be seen from space. The nutrients carried in sediment can encourage phytoplankton blooms.