A spring bloom of phytoplankton

A spring bloom of phytoplankton was captured in this SPOT-5 image off of Ireland’s northwest coast, North Atlantic Ocean. In lower-right, we can see part of County Mayo’s coast – which appears pink in the false-colour image.  Credits: CNES/Spot Image/ESA

The satellite is supported by ESA as a Third Party Mission, which means ESA uses its multi-mission European ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data from the satellite to its wide user community.
This image was acquired on 2 June 2006 by SPOT-5 with a spatial resolution of 10 m.

Ireland map

The bloom indicates mineral-rich waters from the mixing of surface waters with deeper waters. Phytoplankton depend on these minerals, making blooms like this common in the spring and summer.

These microscopic organisms are the basis of the marine food chain, and play an important role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing oxygen in the oceans. By helping to regulate the carbon cycle, phytoplankton are important to the global climate system.

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