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Sediments and Phytoplankton in the Black Sea – May 10th, 2013

42.8N 38.3E

May 10th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Sediments

Black Sea – May 9th, 2013

Swirls of light blue and green phytoplankton and sediment are visible near the shores of the Black Sea. The Black Sea drainage basin encompasses almost one third of Europe, and each year an estimated 350 km3 of runoff enters the Black Sea, bringing substantial sediment and into the semi-enclosed waters. With these sediments come nutrients and fertilizers, which encourage the growth of phytoplankton.


Phytoplankton in Black Sea and Dust Over Iraq – July 16th, 2012

36.3N 39.9E

July 16th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day, Phytoplankton

Tigris/Euphrates Valley – July 13th, 2012

Two interesting phenomena can be observed in this image, which stretches from Georgia (upper right), across Turkey (center left) and Iran (center right) and the Middle East (lower half of image). Visible in the upper left quadrant is a phytoplankton bloom in the Black Sea. The bloom has been present for several weeks (click here for previous images), and now appears to be waning slightly. Visible in the lower right quadrant is a plume of dust originating in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and blowing over Iraq.

Phytoplankton Still Blooming Intensely in Black Sea – June 26th, 2012

43.6N 31.6E

June 26th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Phytoplankton

Black Sea - June 25th, 2012

A beautiful blue phytoplankton bloom continues to flourish in the Black Sea (click here for previous images). Here, the massive bloom covers more of the southern half of the sea. Although the Black Sea is connected to Sea of Marmara (lower left) through the Bosphorus Strait, no phytoplankton is blooming the Sea of Marmara.

Phytoplankton is made up of protists, bacteria and algae that use nutrients delivered by rivers to conduct photosynthesis. The amount of runoff present in the water determines their numbers. The Black Sea primarily receives nutrients from the Danube, the Dnieper, the Dniester, and the Don rivers.

Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in Georgia by Black Sea – June 25th, 2012

42.2N 43.0E

June 25th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Mountains

Black Sea - December 26th, 2011

Visible near the shores of the Black Sea in this wide-swath ASAR image of the country of Georgia are two large ridges of mountains: the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range (above) forms the northern border of Georgia, while the southern portion of the country is bounded by the Lesser Caucasus Mountains (below). The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range is much higher in elevation than the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, with the highest peaks rising more than 5,000 meters (16,404 ft) above sea level.

Sediments and Phytoplankton in Black Sea – June 12th, 2012

43.3N 30.9E

June 12th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Phytoplankton

Black Sea - June 9th, 2012

The Black Sea is still aglow with color as the phytoplankton bloom in its waters continues (click here for previous images).  Here, the darker colors near the coast are likely due to the influx of freshwater and sediments from rivers. However, sediments and fertilizes from these rivers do contribute to the bloom: the salty water, provided only via the narrow Bosporus Strait, is denser than the fresh water from the rivers, and so it sinks to the bottom. This leaves a layer of relatively fresh water on top, which remains there due to the density barrier between salt and fresh water being great enough so that the two layers do not mix. For this reason, when fresh water enters the sea from rivers, it only mixes with the relatively fresh water in the top 150 meters of the sea. As such, fertilizers and runoff carried in by the rivers remain concentrated in the top of the sea where they nourish the phytoplankton.