Off the coast of France (bottom right) and the United Kingdom (top right), microscopic marine plants known as phytoplankton are blooming in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, coloring the ocean blue and green. The Bristol Channel, which separates England from Wales, appears filled with murky water. The tan color could be a mixture of sediment and organic matter flowing into the Channel from rivers and streams as well as material churned up by waves and tidal actions. This image is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on June 12, 2003.
The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution of 250 meters.
Iridescent shades of peacock blue and emerald green decorated the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina on December 24, 2007. Though hundreds of kilometers in length, these bright bands of color were formed by miniscule objects—tiny surface-dwelling ocean plants known as phytoplankton.
Ocean plants color the water of the Great Australian Bight off the shore of Victoria, Australia, in this photo-like Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite on January 11, 2007.