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Chlorophyll as a Current Tracer

Phytoplankton, for the most part, move wherever ocean currents take them. Because of this they can sometimes be used to reveal current flows in the ocean through the chlorophyll they carry. If you move your pointer over the above Suomi-NPP-VIIRS image of chlorophyll concentrations off the northwestern coast of Australia, you will see how currents moved the phytoplankton around during the month of August, 2014. Click on the image to see an animation of a larger portion of the eastern Indian Ocean that reveals eddies within eddies in this turbulent region. (Black patches within the animation are clouds moving through the scene.)