SeaWiFS Biosphere from 1997 to 2006

  • Released Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The SeaWiFS instrument aboard the Seastar satellite has been collecting ocean data since 1997. 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. This animation represents nearly a decade's worth of data taken by the SeaWiFS instrument, showing the abundance of life in the sea. Dark blue represents warmer areas where there is little life due to lack of nutrients, and greens and reds represent cooler nutrient-rich areas. The nutrient-rich areas include coastal regions where cold water rises from the sea floor bringing nutrients along and areas at the mouths of rivers where the rivers have brought nutrients into the ocean from the land. A recent study indicates there is a correlation between this ocean nutrients and changes in sea surface temperature (SST). The results show that when SSTs warm, marine plant life in the form of microscopic phytoplankton declines. When SSTs cool, marine plant life flourishes. Changes in phytoplankton growth influence fishery yields and the amount of carbon dioxide the oceans remove from the atmosphere. This could have major implications on the future of our ocean's food web and how it relates to climate change. Once the animation pulls out to a full global view, the remaining animation can be compared to the 'MODIS Sea Surface Temperature from 2002 to 2006' animation.

Legend for the global biosphere animation. Reds and yellows denote areas of high ocean chlorophyll and blue and purple denote low concentrations.

Legend for the global biosphere animation. Reds and yellows denote areas of high ocean chlorophyll and blue and purple denote low concentrations.

32-day average of SeaWiFS data over the Pacific Ocean.  This data has been averaged over September 22, 2006 to October 23, 2006.

32-day average of SeaWiFS data over the Pacific Ocean. This data has been averaged over September 22, 2006 to October 23, 2006.

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Credits

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 (NOTE: In January 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined to become DigitalGlobe).
Data provided by: Norman Kuring (NASA/GSFC)

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, December 5, 2006.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT.


Series

This visualization can be found in the following series:

Papers used in this visualization

'Climate-Driven Trends in Contemporary Ocean Productivity', Nature, Dec. 7


Datasets used in this visualization

  • Global Biosphere [SeaStar: SeaWiFS]

    ID: 467
    Sensor: SeaWiFSDates used: 08/29/1997 - 10/23/2006

    SeaWiFS Global Biosphere is a combination of the Land NDVI and Chlorophyll Concentration data sets. 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.

    Credit: 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 (NOTE: In January 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined to become one DigitalGlobe.).

    This dataset can be found at: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/PRODUCTS/

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Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.