This Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) image collected on December 3, 2004, shows phytoplankton (microscopic ocean plants) blooms along the ocean circulation feature called the Subtropical Front to the east of New Zealand. The waters of the Pacific Ocean around New Zealand are colored to represent the concentration of chlorophyll in milligrams per cubic meter of water. The scale ranges from shades of deep blue, where little or no chlorophyll was detected by SeaWiFS, to yellow, where the highest concentrations of chlorophyll were detected.
The Subtropical Front is an area of the ocean where temperature and salinity gradients are enhanced. These gradients influence phytoplankton growth, which in turn influences New Zealand’s fishing industry. The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research in New Zealand has a Website with more information about the biological productivity of this region.
Image provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE. The image is intended for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with ORBIMAGE.