April 17, 2024 - Bloom in the Black Sea


Swirls of turquoise and aqua brightened the deep blue water of the Black Sea in mid-April 2024. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired this true-color image of the colorful scene on April 15.

The brilliant tints are created by large blooms of phytoplankton, which live in these waters year-round in smaller numbers, but burst forth in abundance when conditions are favorable. Growth usually begins in spring when daylight lengthens and water warms. Peak bloom is seen by late summer in most years.

Phytoplankton are plant-like, microscopic algae, bacteria, and protists which contain chlorophyll and other pigments. As “primary producers”, they use chlorophyll to make their own food from sunlight and dissolved nutrients. They also form the base of the marine food web. More than 150 different types of phytoplankton have been found in the Black Sea, and they support a rich bounty of fish and other marine organisms.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 4/15/2024
Resolutions: 1km (280.7 KB), 500m (747.1 KB), 250m (1.7 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC