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Phytoplankton Blooms by Ireland and Scotland

49.5N 9.9W

June 7th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton MODISAqua

Ireland and UK – June 6th, 2013

A phytoplankton bloom, created by millions of microorganisms, continues to turn the waters southwest of Ireland bright shades of blue and green. A second, fainter bloom is visible north of Northern Ireland and west of Scotland. This bloom is likely less intense due to a smaller concentration of the tiny microorganisms.

Green and Blue Phytoplankton Bloom Southwest of Ireland and UK

49.5N 9.6W

June 5th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton MODISTerra

Ireland and UK – June 4th, 2013

Phytoplankton are possibly the most important group of organisms on the planet as they generate most of the oxygen that we breath. Also, as they convert inorganic nutrients and sunlight into vegetative matter, most marine food chains depend on their presence as a primary food source.

Most individual phytoplankton are too small to be seen with the naked eye. When present in high numbers however, their presence may appear as dramatic discoloration of the water, as is the case in this image of a bloom southwest of Ireland. This population growth can be rapid, and typically occur when temperature and nutrient levels rise, usually in late Spring and Autumn. The colour of a bloom can vary from a green to a dark red colour depending on the phytoplankton present.

While blooms can provide more food to organisms higher up the food chain, too much phytoplankton can also do harm. Dissolved oxygen becomes rapidly depleted as the phytoplankton die, sink to the bottom and decompose. This can result in the death of other organisms including shellfish, crabs and fish (click here for more information).

Phytoplankton Bloom Off Coast of Ireland – June 5th, 2013

June 5th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Phytoplankton MODISAqua

Ireland – June 4th, 2013

Phytoplankton blooms are a common phenomenon, caused by microscopic plants that float in the upper, sunlit layers of the ocean. When large numbers of phytoplankton are concentrated in one area, the color of the water surface changes. A special group of plankton are coccolithophores. These tiny organisms generate very thin plates of calcium carbonate known as coccoliths. Coccoliths reflect light in a unique way turning the color of the water into a bright, milky aquamarine during intense blooms, which can be seen from space, as is the case of this bloom, visible southwest of Ireland.

Climate Change and Rainfall in Ireland

53.0N 9.1W

April 6th, 2013 Category: Climate Change

Ireland – April 3rd, 2013

This image focuses on the Republic of Ireland and the country of Northern Ireland (UK). Like much of the planet, Irish weather conditions have undergone significant changes in recent years. Of the fifteen warmest years on record in Ireland, ten of these have occured since 1990. The average temperature has increased by 0.7 ÂșC during the period 1890-2004. It continues to rise.

There is also a general trend of significant increase of rainfall in Ireland along the north and west coasts, and only slight increases along the east and south coasts. Here, sediments can be seen in the Irish Sea, off the east coast of the country. In some cases, there has even been a decrease in rainfall. Increased rainfall may result in more seasonal flooding.

Rising sea levels are also of concern for Ireland , as waters have been rising by 2 – 4mm each year. If this trend continues, the sea level will have risen to 0.2 – 0.4m by the end of this century. Approximately 60% of the population are living within 10km of the coast. Areas of soft coastline, especially in the east, are under severe threat from erosion and flooding.

These changes, bringing the milder winters and warmer summers we have been experiencing in recent years, may be appreciated, but the impact in some parts of the world has been much more devastating. If climate change continues at such a high rate, Ireland is likely to be affected by the following: air temperature will rise by 1.5-2 degrees by 2080; rainfall will increase in winter and decrease in summer; sea temperatures may rise by 2 degrees by the end of the century, causing intense, agressive storms; flooding and erosion from extreme weather conditions; and altered agricultural practices, especially crop growing, to cope with weather changes (click here for more information).

Coastal Features and Sediments, United Kingdom, Ireland and France

51.5N 0.1W

August 13th, 2012 Category: Sediments

United Kingdom, Ireland and France – August 10th, 2012

While parts of England, Wales and Ireland are dotted by cloud cover, much of Scotland’s rocky coastline and mountainous terrain can be observed in the upper part of the image, as can northern France in the lower right quadrant. Visible near the right edge are sediments from the River Thames giving a green tinge to the waters along the coast of England. While the city of London is covered by clouds, Paris can be observed in the full image as a large grey area.