Electric Blue Blooms
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Electric Blue Blooms

August 14, 2010
Resembling the brush strokes of French Impressionist Claude Monet, electric blue-colored plankton blooms swirl in the North Atlantic Ocean off Ireland in this Envisat image. Plankton, the most abundant type of life found in the ocean, are microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea.

While individually microscopic, the chlorophyll they use for photosynthesis collectively tints the surrounding ocean waters, providing a means of detecting these tiny organisms from space with dedicated 'ocean color' sensors, like Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), which acquired this image on 23 May 2010 at a resolution of 300 m.

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