The satellite image, with eddies clearly visible, shows chlorophyll concentration in the North Atlantic during the spring phytoplankton bloom. Scientists have long known that widespread springtime blooms take up enormous quantities of carbon dioxide, creating organic matter and emitting oxygen. The North Atlantic is an especially crucial region, responsible for more than 20 percent of the entire ocean's uptake of human-generated carbon dioxide. New understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms of the annual blooms allows them to be represented more accurately in global models of the oceanic carbon cycle and improves the models' predictive capability.
Courtesy of Bror Jonsson, Princeton University, and MODIS satellite data, NASA