The turquoise plumes of water circulating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in this satellite image are the result phytoplankton. These microscopic plant-like organisms live in these waters off of eastern Canada year-round, but when conditions are right—ideal water temperature, nutrient availability, and hours of sunlight—they reproduce quickly enough to create large blooms that satellites can detect from space. Blooms are common in these waters starting in late spring and usually fade by late summer. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image on June 13, 2021.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Text by Adam Voiland.