Phytoplankton are photosynthesizing microscopic organisms that inhabit the upper sunlit layer of almost all oceans and bodies of fresh water. Each of these merge to form bunches of brilliant clouds that we are sometimes fascinated with in the sky. According to a report from Live Science, new research has shown just how significant these tiny organisms are – they are responsible for half of the cloud droplets that cover the Southern Ocean during summer months.
The phytoplankton count on light to germinate and populate the sea with blobs. During summer months when the water temperature rises, colossal phytoplankton blooms tend to effect clouds formation.
New research demonstrates that, the minute ocean life generates airborne gases and organic matter which incepts cloud droplets, and that this can give rise to more brilliant clouds,reflecting more sunlight in essence, claims the report.
“The clouds over the Southern Ocean reflect significantly more sunlight in the summertime than they would without these huge plankton blooms,” said Daniel McCoy, who is the co-leader author and UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences, in a release. “In the summer, we get about double the concentration of cloud droplets as we would if it were a biologically dead ocean.”
As a result, some definite energy is produced. For example, the augmented brilliance which is a by-product of the tiny sea, reflects approximately 4 watts of solar energy per square meter, claims the report, as published by the release.
This research basically commenced in 2014 when scientists gave a close look to the NASA satellite data for analyzing clouds over the parts of the Southern Ocean which are uncovered in sea ice and have satellite data all year round.The data was recorded using an imaging spectroradiometer, or MODIS, which is an instrument used by NASA in 1999 to measure the size of cloud droplets for all the Earth’s skies, said a release.
This study was financed by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy and a graduate fellowship from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.