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Waiting for the Curtain

Photosynthesizing, carbon-pumping protists and bacteria paint the wide North Pacific with their signature pigments and light-scattering characteristics. They are small, but they are many -- numerous enough to be sensed by platforms orbiting hundreds of kilometers overhead..., but not on this day.

Moorings, drifters, research vessels, and ships of opportunity collect local data that can be extended to the wider basin using satellite ocean color data..., but not on this day.

On this day we must be content to let the meteorologists mine the data for meaning while we sit back to enjoy the endlessly variable patterns in that white curtain behind which the phytoplankton play.

cloud patterns

The above composite comprises data collected by the MODIS instrument during nine orbits of the Aqua spacecraft on July 25 and 26, 2018. Click on the top image for a much larger version (51 megabytes).