The waters of the Atlantic Ocean south and west of Ireland were colored with swirls of blue and green on May 28, 2020. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of the scene that same day.
Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that grow in the sunlit surface waters of the ocean. While some live in these waters year-round, when conditions are right – lengthening sunlight, correct water temperatures, and enough nutrients, the plants can burst into rapid reproduction and create a bloom that can easily be seen from space. The tiny plants are the base of the marine food chain, and places where blooms are frequent tend to support a thriving marine population.