Phytoplankton are more than just nature’s watercolors: They’re
tiny ocean organisms that play a key role in Earth’s climate by removing
heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. These
tiny organisms live in the oceans, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing
oxygen, like plants on land. Earth’s oceans absorb about half of the carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere, which feeds phytoplankton.
This year, phytoplankton blooms popped up in the
panhandle region of Alaska and along the coast of British Columbia slightly
later in the year than the main blooms that tend to occur in May.
This week, our Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing
(EXPORTS) team is shipping out into the open ocean to study these important
organisms, sailing 200 miles west from Seattle into the northeastern Pacific