COOL IMAGES: Greening of the Seas

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  19 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5409, pp. 1811
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5409.1811a

The green, yellow, and red patches in this yearlong, false-color image of the globe trace the oceans' patina of chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green (hotter colors in the oceans indicate more chlorophyll).

The data came from SeaWiFS, a satellite launched as part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth in 1997 to keep an eye on ocean color, which indicates the abundance of tiny plants called phytoplankton. For years other satellites have tracked physical and chemical changes in the oceans, bu. “now, for the first time, we can monitor the biological response,” NASA's Gene Feldman says. The results could help climate change researchers pin down how much of the globe's rising atmospheric carbon dioxide phytoplankton absorb. Already, SeaWiFS has revealed a dearth of plankton around the Galápagos Islands as a result of El Niño warming and an unusual, milky-green bloom in the Bering Sea last summer. See these images and more at

Stay Connected to Science

Navigate This Article