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Phytoplankton Blooms off Coast of Japan

42.0N 149.0E

May 21st, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Phytoplankton Blooms near Japan - May 21st, 2009

Phytoplankton Blooms near Japan - May 21st, 2009

Phytoplankton bloom

Phytoplankton bloom

Phytoplankton bloom highlighted by sun glint

Bloom highlighted by glint

Here, several distinct phytoplankton blooms are visible to the right of Japan‘s Hokkaido island.

Spring and summer phytoplankton blooms are believed to be caused by increased solar radiation and nutrients supplied to the sea surface, such as nitrates and phosphates.

Both sunlight (solar radiation) and those nutrients are absorbed by ocean phytoplankton photosynthesis.

The first two close-ups focus on two circular, spiralled blooms, one near the coast and another further east, highlighted by sun glint.

The final close-up focuses on a different phenomenon, a water current vortex made visible by sun glint.

Water current vortex

Water current vortex

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