SeaWiFS Third Anniversary

September 21, 2000


Provided by: NASA/GSFC
Summary authors & editor: Jim Foster

September 18 was the third anniversary of the start of operations for the SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor) satellite. The above SeaWiFS global composite image of the biosphere shows data acquired between September 1997 and August 2000. It depicts both the ocean's long-term average phytoplankton/chlorophyll concentration and the biomass over land areas (using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). The greatest phytoplankton/chlorophyll concentrations (red) occur in shallow water coastal areas and where large rivers such as the Mississippi and Amazon enter the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, respectively. High concentrations also are found in inland lakes and seas such as Lake Victoria in central Africa and Lake Winnipeg in south-central Canada. The smallest concentrations (deep purple/blue) occur in deep, mid-ocean areas. In regards to biomass, tropical rain forests, mid-latitude forests and boreal forests have the greatest biomass (smallest NDVI difference - bluish-green colors), and of course, the least biomass is found in desert areas (browns and tans).

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