Cold Water Upwelling Promotes Phytoplankton Blooms

  • Released Monday, June 21, 2004

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.


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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

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This page was originally published on Monday, June 21, 2004.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:56 PM EDT.