Phytoplankton transform the Baltic Sea •

Phytoplankton transform the Baltic Sea. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic Sea off the coast of southeast Sweden.

While the photograph shows a region of the sea between the islands of Öland and Gotland, the extent of the late-summer bloom is actually much larger. 

Vibrant phytoplankton blooms appear in the Baltic Sea every summer, and their swirling patterns shaped by ocean currents and eddies are often captured in satellite images. Phytoplankton transform the Baltic Sea

The specific type of phytoplankton involved in this particular bloom has not been tested, but experts report that it is likely to be an ancient type of marine bacteria known as cyanobacteria.

The natural-color image was obtained on August 15, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by DenmarkEstoniaFinlandLatviaLithuaniaSweden, northeast GermanyPolandRussia and the North and Central European Plain.

The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 10°E to 30°E longitude. A marginal sea of the Atlantic, with limited water exchange between the two water bodies, the Baltic Sea drains through the Danish Straits into the Kattegat by way of the ØresundGreat Belt and Little Belt. It includes the Gulf of Bothnia, the Bay of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga and the Bay of Gdańsk.

The Baltic Proper is bordered on its northern edge, at the latitude 60°N, by the Åland Islands and the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga, and in the west by the Swedish part of the southern Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Baltic Sea is connected by artificial waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea-Baltic Canal and to the German Bight of the North Sea via the Kiel Canal.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer


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