Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
A green swirl off the coast of Namibia marks the presence of phytoplankton in the Atlantic Ocean. Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that use photosynthesis, like their land-based plant relatives, to convert sunlight into energy. It is the chlorophyll in these organisms that gives them their greenish hue, and this hue, when combined with the deep blue of the water, creates sparkling jewel tones of blues and green. When these organisms concentrate in enough numbers, great clouds of them can be seen from space. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the Aqua satellite captured this phytoplankton bloom on October 11, 2003.
Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.