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July 16, 2013 - Phytoplankton in and Canadian smoke over the North Sea
Phytoplankton in and Canadian smoke over the North Sea Image used for Spacing Purposes
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 7/6/2013
Resolutions: 1km (124.7 KB)
500m (424.1 KB)
250m (1.1 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz
MODIS Land Rapid Response Team,

A broad band of smoke, originating in Canada, blew across the North Sea on July 6, 2013, obscuring a brilliant bloom of phytoplankton that colored the blue waters below. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra captured this true-color image at 10:35 UTC (6:35 a.m. EDT) on that same day.

In the northeast, snow clings to the peaks of Norway’s Scandinavian Mountains while in the northwest a broad bank of highly reflective, bright white clouds cover most of Scotland. The wide, gray-toned veil in the center of the image is a smoke from the far-away forest fires.

Bright turquoise-colored swirls in the water, peeking out from the smoke, mark the site of a large phytoplankton bloom. These plant-like organisms, which contain highly reflective pigments, including chlorophyll, commonly grow rapidly in this region in the summer, when the combination of nutrients, light and water temperature are favorable.

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