Image of the Day: A ‘Starry Night’ of Algae from Space

The view of phytoplankton swirling in the water around Gotland, a Swedish island, reminiscent of Van Gogh's famous painting. It shows a population explosion of blooms that occurs when deep currents bring nutrients up to the water surface and spurs the growth of the tiny plants. According to Scientific American, if the dilution caused by deep water currents is a result of winter storms, a warmer winter and thus less storms in the North Atlantic could mean less blooms. Less phytoplankton blooms could also have an adverse effect because there would be less dead plankton to fall to the ocean floor and possibly less sinking of CO2 enriched surface waters, says Scientific American, and in turn worsen climate change caused by extra atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS