File:The Eddy and the Plankton - NASA Earth Observatory.jpg

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The_Eddy_and_the_Plankton_-_NASA_Earth_Observatory.jpg(720 × 480 pixels, file size: 146 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

Summary[edit]

Description

To download the full resolution and other files go to: earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=77120&src=...

The ocean has storms and weather that rival the size and scale of tropical cyclones. But rather than destruction, these storms—better known as eddies—are more likely to bring life to the sea...and often in places that are otherwise barren.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of a deep-ocean eddy on December 26, 2011. This close-up shows the vortex structure of the eddy, traced in light blue by plankton blooming in the 150-kilometer wide swirl. A wider view shows the bloom and eddy in context, about 800 kilometers south of South Africa.

“Eddies are the internal weather of the sea,” says Dennis McGillicuddy, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. They are huge masses of water spinning in a whirlpool pattern—either clockwise or counterclockwise—and they can stretch for hundreds of kilometers. Eddies often spin off from major ocean current systems and can last for months.

In the image above, the anti-cyclonic (counter-clockwise) eddy likely peeled off from the Agulhas Current, which flows along the southeastern coast of Africa and around the tip of South Africa. Agulhas eddies, or “current rings,” tend to be among the largest in the world, transporting warm, salty water from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic.

Certain types of eddies can promote blooms of phytoplankton. As these water masses stir the ocean, they draw nutrients up from the deep, fertilizing the surface waters to create blooms of microscopic, plant-like organisms in the open ocean, which is relatively barren compared to coastal waters.

In satellite observations of sea surface height and in computer models, eddies appear as bumps or depressions in the ocean, indicating the upwelling or downwelling of water. They also can be distinguished by higher or lower surface temperatures. However, such observations were not available for the eddy depicted above.

NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data obtained from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Michael Carlowicz.

The Earth Observatory's mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Add us to your circles on Google+

Date
Source The Eddy and the Plankton
Author NASA's Earth Observatory
Camera location43° 17′ 06.73″ S, 19° 43′ 53.2″ E Kartographer map based on OpenStreetMap.View all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap - Google Earthinfo

Licensing[edit]

w:en:Creative Commons
attribution
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
You are free:
  • to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to remix – to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
  • attribution – You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Checked copyright icon.svg This image was originally posted to Flickr by NASA Earth Observatory at https://www.flickr.com/photos/68824346@N02/6921158073. It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

File history

Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.

Date/TimeThumbnailDimensionsUserComment
current17:09, 2 July 2012Thumbnail for version as of 17:09, 2 July 2012720 × 480 (146 KB)Dzlinker (talk | contribs)== {{int:filedesc}} == {{Information |Description=To download the full resolution and other files go to: [http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=77120&src=flickr earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=77120&src=...] The ocean has storms...
  • You cannot overwrite this file.

There are no pages that use this file.

File usage on other wikis

The following other wikis use this file:

Metadata