Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a phytoplankton bloom off the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States in May 2022
“Phytoplankton are to the ocean what grasses and ground cover are to land: primary producers, a basic food source for other life, and the main carbon recycler for the marine environment. Diatoms, coccolithophores, algae, and other forms of phytoplankton are floating, plant-like organisms that soak up sunshine, sponge up nutrients, and create their own food (energy),” reports NASA.
The image was captured on May 17, 2022 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite. The bloom was located off the coast of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.
“The 2022 bloom may have been provoked by coastal upwelling, a process by which persistent winds blow surface waters away from the coast, causing cooler, nutrient-rich waters to flow up from the depths,” explains NASA. “Persistent westerly or southwesterly breezes can lead to upwelling along the Mid-Atlantic coast.”
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory