Red Plankton in the Arabian Sea #2693

#2693 Red Plankton in the Arabian Sea by JVPD
In the Arabian Sea, sunlight and nutrients has fueled a startling occurrence of colorful phytoplankton and bacterial assemblages, which is captured in these natural color images from NASA's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR). Several areas exhibit an unmistakably reddish hue, particularly in the upper portion of the images. The image set is centered along the Tropic of Cancer, about 400 kilometers east of Muscat, Oman, and was acquired on October 2, 2004. A view from MISR's nadir (directly downward viewing) camera is provided on the left, while the two smaller images at the upper and lower right are from MISR's 60-degree forward and backward pointing cameras, respectively. The Arabian Sea is an unusual part of the world's oceans because it is surrounded by land masses from three sides, and light levels in the region are strongly influenced by cloud cover generated by the Indian monsoons. Phytoplankton concentrations in the Arabian Sea tend to be highest during September and October, towards the end of the summer monsoon. The offshore drift of surface waters and their replacement by deeper, nutrient-rich waters means that the Arabian Sea is very productive, but such fertilization also sometimes results in copious phytoplankton production and oxygen depletion of the subsurface waters. Although red phytoplankton fluorescences have been associated with the low oxygen concentrations in the intermediate and deep waters of the Arabian Sea, the red pigment in this scene may instead be related to the dynamic processes of plankton grazing and decomposition.

Photo Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team [0003-0612-3123-1226] by 0003

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arabian sea, earth science, environment, jpl, muscat, nasa, oman, phytoplankton, red plankton, red plankton in the arabian sea, sea, tropic of cancer