Phytoplankton bloom of the northeast coast of Norway

The land visible across the bottom of the image belongs to Norway (left) and Russia’s Murmansk Oblast. Photo:ESA

The waters of the Barents Sea off the northeast coast of Norway were bright with a green and blue bloom of phytoplankton on September 4, 2009, when the MODIS on the Aqua satellite captured this image.

An Envisat image captured a plankton bloom larger than the country of Greece stretching across the Barents Sea off the tip of northern Europe.

The colourful blossoming bloom in the Barents Sea, a rather deep shelf sea with an average depth around 230 m, is approximately 136 000 sq km. In comparison, Greece has a land area of 131 940 sq km.

The special mosaic of blue-colours in the sea is due to huge amounts of phytoplankton.

The phytoplankton use sunlight to convert water and CO2 into food. Some species of phytoplankton are coated with scales of calcium, which can turn the water electric blue.

In the northern Barents Sea, these organisms are starved for sunlight much of the year, but during the summer months, they explode in colorful blooms such as this one, NASA writes on their website.

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