These Are The True Lungs Of Planet Earth

You are watching the lungs of Earth, the producers of much of the oxygen in the planet, accounting for half of all the photosynthetic activity. They are not trees. It's phytoplankton. It's blooming now in the Barents Sea. Zoom out:

And now zoom in:

Yes, that little thing is the most basic source of life in our Pale Blue Dot. Not only does it transform the energy of the sun and generate oxygen - it's also the basis of all oceanic and freshwater food chains. Which basically means is the source of everything.

In this image, the "variations in colour are caused by different species and concentrations of phytoplankton. The bright blue colours are probably from coccolithophores, a type of phytoplankton that is coated in a chalky shell that reflects light, turning the ocean a milky turquoise. Coccolithophores dominate the Barents Sea in August. Shades of green are likely from diatoms, another type of phytoplankton."

Claude Monet would have loved to see and paint this. [NASA Earth Observatory via The Scuttle Fish]

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