Phytoplankton bloom brightens up the Chukchi Sea • Earth.com

Last update: September 19th, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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.”

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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