SeaWiFS: El Niño on a Globe (2nd version)

By monitoring the color of reflected light via satellite, scientists can determine how successfully plant life is photosynthesizing. A measurement of photosynthesis is essentially a measurement of successful growth, and growth means successful use of ambient carbon.

Until now, scientists have only had a continuous record of photosynthesis on land. But following three years of continual data collected by the SeaWiFS instrument, NASA has gathered the first record of photosynthetic productivity in the oceans. By taking three years of continuous data as a whole, experts have been able to map trends and anomalies in the global circulation of carbon to a degree of detail than has never been done before. It is a baseline measurement to by which all future measurements will be compared.

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Visualization Credits

Stuart A. Snodgrass (GST): Lead Animator
Marte Newcombe (GST): Animator
Gene Feldman (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, The SeaWiFS Project and GeoEye, Scientific Visualization Studio. NOTE: All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye (

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Data Used:
SeaStar/SeaWiFS 1997/09/20 - 2000/09/20

This item is part of this series:
SeaWiFS Biosphere

Goddard TV Tape:

DLESE >> Biological oceanography
SVS >> El Nino
SVS >> Pacific
DLESE >> Physical oceanography
NASA Science >> Earth