View Full Version : MODIS: Phytoplankton Bloom off Namibia

tlr online
15-11-03, 00:28
A brilliant emerald green cloud of phytoplankton floats in serpentine tendrils off the coast of Namibia in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from November 11, 2003. While this part of the African coast is better-known for the sulphur clouds that bloom closer to shore, phytoplankton clouds like these are the basis of that phenomenon. Phytoplankton clouds bloom when the cold waters of the Benguela current brings nutrients to the surface, which the phytoplankton feed on. As the phytoplankton die off, they sink to the sea floor, where they become food for bottom-dwelling bacteria.

Most of the bacteria in the ocean mud use oxygen to consume the phytoplankton, and eventually the oxygen supply becomes insufficient. At this point, a kind of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can live without oxygen) take over, and produce hydrogen-sulfide gas as a byproduct. This gas collects in the mud until enough of it accumulates to bubble toward the surface. Once the gas reaches the upper layers of the ocean water, it reacts with oxygen molecules to create clouds of pure sulfur.


Copyright 2003 NASA

15-11-03, 00:33
Beautiful! It looks like some sort of primitive design

15-11-03, 00:34
Maybe it's a really really big sea monster! :D