S99u1le1 - Ocean Color Ocean Color Lesson I Energy and Color Keywords algorithm photosynthetic organisms chlorophyll particulate matter ocean color

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Project Oceanography 1999 Spring Series Ocean Color 5 Ocean Color Ocean Color Lesson I: Energy and Color Keywords: algorithm , photosynthetic organisms, chlorophyll, particulate matter, ocean color data, MODIS, global carbon cycle, backscatter, electromagnetic spectrum, water-leaving radiance Why is Ocean Color Important? The major reason scientists measure ocean color is to study phytoplankton, the microscopic ocean plants which form the base of the oceanic food web. Phytoplankton use sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce organic carbon. This process, called photosynthesis, is possible because plants contain chlorophyll, a green-colored compound which traps the energy from sunlight. Chlorophyll is also responsible for giving most marine and land plants a green color. Because different types of phytoplankton have different concentrations of chlorophyll, measuring the color of an area of the ocean allows us to estimate the amount and general type of phytoplankton in that area. Looking at ocean color also tells us about the health and chemistry of the ocean. In addition to light and carbon dioxide, phytoplankton also require nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The distribution of plants in the ocean also tells us where nutrient levels are high, and shows where pollutants poison the ocean and prevent plant growth. Other conditions can also affect phytoplankton growth, such as subtle changes in the climate due to seasons and variations in salinity in coastal areas. Since phytoplankton depend upon specific conditions for growth, they frequently become the first indicator of a change in their environment. Comparing images taken at different periods tells us about changes that occur over time. Because phytoplankton drift with the water, patterns in ocean color can also be used to study ocean currents. Why are phytoplankton so important? These small plants are the beginning of the food chain for most of the planet. As phytoplankton grow and multiply, small fish and other animals eat them as food. Larger animals then eat these smaller ones. The ocean fishing industry finds good fishing spots by looking at ocean color images to locate areas rich in
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Project Oceanography Spring Series 1999 - Ocean Color 6 Ocean Color phytoplankton. Ocean color is therefore a valuable research tool for the study of ocean biology, chemistry, and physics.
Background image of page 2
Project Oceanography Spring Series 1999 - Ocean Color 7 Ocean Color What is Ocean Color? The "color" of the ocean is determined by the interactions of incident light with substances present in the water. We see color when light is reflected by objects around us. White light is made up of a spectrum or combination of colors, as in a rainbow. When light hits the surface of an object, these different colors can be absorbed, transmitted through the substance, scattered, or reflected in differing intensities. The color we see depends on which colors are reflected. For example, a book that appears red to us
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida - Tampa.

Page1 / 10

S99u1le1 - Ocean Color Ocean Color Lesson I Energy and Color Keywords algorithm photosynthetic organisms chlorophyll particulate matter ocean color

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online