Phytoplankton Off Japan
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Phytoplankton Off Japan

May 9, 2005
The Aqua MODIS instrument acquired this remarkably cloud-free view of Honshu, Japan's main island, on May 4, 2005. A thick plume of smoke crosses the island from the west where intense fires have been burning in North Korea. To the south, the ocean is brightly colored with phytoplankton, microscopic plants growing near the surface of the water. This phytoplankton bloom may be linked to dust, which settles in the water during springtime sand storms from China. The dust carries iron, a nutrient needed for phytoplankton growth, to the ocean and may be responsible for the profusion of life seen here.

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