Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency features algal blooms swirling in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan.
Algae blooms occur when there is a rapid increase in phytoplankton, which are microscopic marine plants that float in the upper part of the ocean.
Phytoplankton serve as the base of the aquatic food chain. Carbon dioxide, sunlight, and nutrient availability influence the growth of phytoplankton.
The image captures high concentrations of phytoplankton off Hokkaido Island, the second largest island of Japan. The particular algal bloom measured more than 500 kilometers across and 200 kilometers wide.
In this part of the Pacific Ocean, the colder Oyashio Current converges with the warmer Kuroshio Current. When these currents collide, the difference in water temperature and density create eddies, or swirls of water, that are highlighted by the algal bloom.
Video Credit: European Space Agency