Ocean Color Image Gallery

  1. Gallery Home
  2. Image Archive Page

Different Seas — Different Ecosystems

This Suomi-NPP/VIIRS composite shows different color patterns in the seas surrounding northwestern Europe. The North Sea and northeastern Atlantic Ocean exhibit a variety of colors with the most striking turquoise patches likely caused by blooms of calcite-shedding coccolithophores. The fresher surface waters of the Baltic Sea reflect a sinuous pattern — more uniform in color — that hints at the summer surface slicks of cyanobacteria that are becoming more common as the local climate changes. To the south, the Mediterranean Sea remains bluer — its oligotrophic waters less colored by phytoplankton except where rivers such as the Ebro, Rhône, and the Po flow in, bringing extra nutrients that fuel algal growth.

Click on the above 27 June 2018 composite to see the described features in more detail.