Phytoplankton bloom in the southern Barents Sea, August 14, 2011 and relationship between timing of blooms and sea ice

LifeLinkedtoIce Phytoplankton bloom Barents Sea small

The color in this satellite image is created by a massive phytoplankton bloom. The milky blue areas indicate a high abundance of coccolithophores, plankton that are plated with white calcium carbonate. Other colors may be from other plankton types and suspended sediment. The graphs, which are from a study over approximately the same area, show the relationship between the timing of blooms and the timing of sea ice. Diatoms (indicated by chlorophyll concentrations) dominate the earlier bloom that is associated with ice melt. Coccolithophores (indicated by calcite concentrations) dominate late summer bloom. They thrive in stable surface layers of warm, low-salinity, low-nutrient water. Coccolithophore blooms are becoming more frequent in the southern Barents Sea and expanding northward to the high Arctic.
All data shown are based on analysis of satellite imagery. This natural-color image was taken by the Moderate Resolution
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on the Aqua satellite.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC; graph from Signorini and McClain 2009 [153]; caption based on Signorini and McClain 2009 [153], Carlowicz and Riebeek 2012 [154] 


Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) 

The data can be downloaded freely. Users are requested to reference the source.

Eamer, J., Donaldson, G.M., Gaston, A.J., Kosobokova, K.N., Lárusson, K.F., Melnikov, I.A., Reist, J.D., Richardson, E., Staples, L., von Quillfeldt, C.H. 2013. Life Linked to Ice: A guide to sea-ice-associated biodiversity in this time of rapid change. CAFF Assessment Series No. 10. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Iceland. ISBN: 978-9935-431-25-7.


153. Signorini, S.R., and McClain, C.R. 2009. Environmental factors controlling the Barents Sea spring-summer phytoplankton blooms. Geophysical Research Letters 36. doi:10.1029/2009gl037695.
154. Carlowicz, M., and Riebeek, H. 2012. Bloom in the Barents Sea. NASA, with interpretation from B. Balch (Bigelow Laboratory) and N. Kuring and S. Signorini, Goddard Space Flight Center. Available from 

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