Algae Bloom off the Coast of El Salvador
acquired June 5, 2004 download large image (134 KB, JPEG, 540x740)

A dark band of water in the Pacific Ocean along the coast of El Salvador marks where a large colony of brown or red-tinted algae are growing near the surface of the water. Such blooms are occasionally visible in satellite images such as in the top image, taken by the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) on June 5, 2004. Since the dark streak is produced by microscopic plants, chlorophyll concentrations also show where a bloom may be occurring. In this case, high concentrations of chlorophyll, shown in red, are visible near the coast. In the areas where the bloom appears to be darkest in the natural color image (top), the chlorophyll algorithm has failed, leaving a black streak over the bloom. Some types of red-colored algae blooms can be toxic, but itís not clear what sort of phytoplankton are blooming here.

Image courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

Instrument(s): 
OrbView-2 - SeaWiFS

Algae Bloom off the Coast of El Salvador

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