Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features vibrantly colored water near the coastline of Vancouver Island.
“The colorful plumes – which are likely comprised of both phytoplankton and sediment – stood out in this image, acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on July 26,” said NASA.
“Clouds covered much of Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia at the time of this image. But coastal areas were cloud-free, exposing water that likely contained flourishing populations of phytoplankton – floating plant-like organisms that are the foundation of the aquatic food web.”
During the summer in the northeast Pacific Ocean, phytoplankton blooms are frequent due to offshore winds pushing surface waters away from the coast. This leads to the upwelling of cooler, nutrient-rich waters from the depths, which fuels the growth of phytoplankton.
The Salish Sea plays a significant role in supplying nutrients through its circulation and upwelling, enhancing phytoplankton productivity along the continental shelf near Vancouver Island. Additionally, the bloom may also be fueled by nutrient-rich sediment runoff from the coast.
Vancouver Island is known for its lush landscapes, including mountains, forests, and stunning coastlines. The island is also home to the city of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
Vancouver Island offers various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing, including opportunities to see whales and bears. The island has a rich Indigenous history, which is reflected in many of its local arts and cultural exhibits
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory