Summer phytoplankton bloom in the Labrador Sea •

Summer phytoplankton bloom in the Labrador Sea

Summer phytoplankton bloom in the Labrador Sea Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a summer phytoplankton bloom in the Labrador Sea off the of Nuuk, Greenland. 

As fresh meltwater flows to the ocean, it carries nutrients that promote the abundant growth of phytoplankton, which form the base of the marine food chain. 

In 2017, scientists at Stanford University led by ocean scientist Kevin Arrigo reported that freshwater from melting glaciers along Greenland’s southwest coast often coincide with phytoplankton blooms. 

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. The campus occupies 8,180 acres, among the largest in the United States, and enrolls over 17,000 students. Stanford is ranked among the best universities in the world by academic publications.

Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

The researchers noted that summer blooms tend to start in early July and can extend as far as 200 miles offshore from Greenland. 

A 2020 study by Arrigo’s research group found that phytoplankton blooms are happening more often and lasting longer in high-latitude and Arctic waters. 

According to NASA, the waters of the Labrador Sea, Davis Strait, and Baffin Bay form a transitional zone between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. 

The image was captured on July 8, 2021 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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