Spring in the Southern Ocean
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Spring in the Southern Ocean

December 3, 2004
It's mid spring in the South Atlantic, and life is blooming in the ocean there. The image above uses rainbow colors to show the location and concentration of microscopic marine plants (phytoplankton) around the Falkland Islands (shown in light gray left of center in this scene) on November 22, 2004. The data for the image came from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. The black patches show gaps in the data due to cloud cover. The rainbow colors shown here represent the concentrations of chlorophyll (in milligrams per cubic meter) at or near the surface of the ocean. Chlorophyll is the pigment found in phytoplankton that gives them their green color. (Like land plants, phytoplankton use chlorophyll for photosynthesis.)

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