Phytoplankton bloom off Iceland
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Phytoplankton bloom off Iceland

July 7, 2004
MODIS often captures images of phytoplankton blooms. This particular bloom is in the North Atlantic off the southern shores of Iceland, and is made up of trillions of what are reported to be Emiliana huxleyi, the most abundant of coccolithophore species. On land, summer's warm weather have reduced Iceland's snow and ice to patches and fields across the island. Snows branch out across the spines of fjords on the northern end of the island, while Iceland's four permanent ice caps—Langjokull and Hofsjokull in the interior west, Myrdalsjokull on the southern coast, and Vatnajokull on the eastern coast - stand out against the brown earth. Coccolithophores are a type of phytoplankton that surround themselves with white calcium carbonate shells. When the coccolithophores gather in large-enough concentrations, they appear to turn the water turquoise in color.

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