A NASA satellite spotted an interesting phenomenon taking place in the Black Sea. The Aqua satellite discovered how the waters of the sea were colored in a strange but hypnotizing shade of turquoise. Scientists say these hues come from the presence of phytoplankton.
- Satellite images of the Black Sea surprised scientists with a bright turquoise hue.
- Phytoplankton is responsible for this unusual shade.
- This year’s blooms are the brightest in the last few years.
Phytoplankton represents marine algae which use nutrients and sunlight to prepare their food. Most of the nutrients in the Black Sea come from the Danube and Dnieper, so these rivers provide one of the main sources of food for the microscopic algae.
After NASA’s Aqua satellite spotted the unusual turquoise hues, it used a special mechanism to analyze the water and discover what made the water have these colors. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) discovered the phytoplankton present in the water currents.
Phytoplankton is good for maintaining the equilibrium of the marine ecosystem, but it might be dangerous if the waters are overflown with it. Excessive quantities of the algae lead to the consumption of oxygen from the water and to dwindling marine populations. This phenomenon is known as eutrophication.
There are several kinds of phytoplankton existent on Earth, but only two of them can be found in the Black Sea. Coccolithophores, the first type, are microscopic algae which contain calcium carbonate. This substance makes the water look milky if there are rich populations in it. The second type, diatoms, make the water look darker.
Over the past few years, the waters of the Black Sea have been brighter than usual, and caught the attention of the scientists. However, this year’s blooms caused the most intense brightness spotted during these years.
Image Source: NASA