Earth  ID: 20028

Cold Water Upwelling Promotes Phytoplankton Blooms

Carbon is the root of all life on Earth, and as it circulates through our biosphere, the Earth's state of health responds. Whenever the size of phytoplankton colonies in the ocean changes, it affects the amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere. These blooms are highly dependent on surrounding environmental conditions. As a hurricane passes over the tropical waters of the Atlantic, it draws up cold water from deep below the warmer surface. As the cooler water rises, it brings with it phytoplankton and nutrients necessary for life. These microscopic plants then bloom in higher than average amounts. Bigger storms cause larger plankton blooms and more plankton absorb a greater amount of carbon from our atmosphere. Scientists are still trying to determine how much carbon dioxide might be removed by such a process.

Animation Credits

Susan Twardy (HTSI): Lead Animator
Steven Babin (Johns Hopkins University/APL): Scientist
Elizabeth A. Smith (HTSI): Writer
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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

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SVS >> Byrne
SVS >> Gonnelli
SVS >> Phytoplankton
SVS >> Phytoplankton Blooms
GCMD >> Earth Science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Phenomena >> Hurricanes
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version