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Phytoplankton bloom brightens up the Chukchi Sea

Phytoplankton bloom brightens up the Chukchi Sea. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a brilliant phytoplankton bloom in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. 

As the Arctic sea ice retreats each spring, phytoplankton blooms create brilliant blue and green patterns in the water. 

A microscopic form of algae known as a diatom is one of the most common types of phytoplankton in the ocean, and generates radiant shades of green.

While the blooms consistently appear off the Alaskan coast from year to year, the size of each bloom is less predictable.

“The interannual variability in phytoplankton biomass and growth in Arctic regions is extremely high,” said Karina Giesbrecht of the University of Victoria. “It’s difficult to link environmental changes to those in the phytoplankton without having a lot more sampling throughout the year and for that sampling to continue on for many years.” Chukchi Sea (Russian: Чуко́тское мо́ре Chukotskoye moreIPA:  sometimes referred to as the Chuuk SeaChukotsk Sea.or the Sea of Chukotsk, is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The principal port on the Chukchi Sea is Uelen in Russia. The International Date Line crosses the Chukchi Sea from northwest to southeast. It is displaced eastwards to avoid Wrangel Island as well as the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug on the Russian mainland.Phytoplankton bloom brightens up the Chukchi Sea

The image was captured on June 18, 2018 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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