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SeaWiFS Biosphere Data (2,000-2,004) [1,080p] [3D converted]
April 12, 2012
SeaWiFS, biosphere, photosynthesis, plankton, ocean, dead zone, environment, Earth, satellite
The SeaWiFS instrument aboard the SeaStar satellite has been collecting ocean data since 1,997. By monitoring the color of reflected light via satellite, scientists can determine how successfully plant life is photosynthesizing. A measurement of photosynthesis is essentially a measurement of successful growth, and growth means successful use of ambient carbon. This animation represents nearly a decade's worth of data taken by the SeaWiFS instrument, showing the abundance of life in the sea and along the Western seaboard of the United States. Dark blue represents warmer areas where there is little life due to lack of nutrients, and greens and reds represent cooler nutrient-rich areas. The nutrient-rich areas include coastal regions where cold water rises from the sea floor bringing nutrients along and areas at the mouths of rivers where the rivers have brought nutrients into the ocean from the land. The nutrient-rich waters contribute to some of the oxygen-poor pockets of the seas called dead zones.