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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Tue, 01.06.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 01 June 2021
June 1, 2021 - Bloom in the Bass Strait


Bloom of Australia/Tanzania

A large stain of milky-blue colored the waters of the Bass Strait north
of Tasmania and south of Australia in late May 2021. The Moderate
Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua
satellite acquired a true-color image of the scene on May 22.

The colorful water was caused by a large bloom of
phytoplankton—microscopic plant-like organisms that live in these
waters year-round in relatively small numbers. When conditions are
right (enough nutrients, sunlight, and adequate water temperature),
phytoplankton begin to reproduce explosively, sometimes creating a
large floating mass that can be seen from space.

There are many species of phytoplankton, each containing chlorophyll
which is used in the presence to convert water and carbon dioxide into
energy. Some species also contain other pigments or features that may
create characteristic colors when massed into a floating bloom. The
milky color of this particular bloom suggests that it is created by
coccolithophores, which are a type of phytoplankton that surround
themselves with calcite scales. Each tiny chalk-colored scale is only
three one-thousandths of a millimeter in diameter, yet the milky bloom
stretches at least 117 km (73 miles) wide and 160 km (100 mi) long.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 5/22/2021
Resolutions: 1km (469.3 KB), 500m (1.1 MB), 250m (2.7 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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