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.
Video slate image reads, "The SeaWiFS instrument looks at the world oceans and land to observe the plant life and phytoplankton, here SeaWiFS captures the El-Niño and La-Niña seasons of 1997 to 2000. (2nd version)"
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).
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Data Used: SeaStar/SeaWiFS
1997/09/20 - 2000/09/20
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.