These Are the True Lungs of Planet Earth

You are watching the lungs of Earth, the producers of much of the oxygen in the planet, accounting for half of all the photosynthetic activity. They are not trees. It's phytoplankton. It's blooming now, in the Barents Sea. Zoom out:

These Are the True Lungs of Planet Earth




And now, ENHANCE!

These Are the True Lungs of Planet Earth

Yes, that little thing is the most basic source of life in our Pale Blue Dot. Not only it transforms the energy of the sun and generates oxygen—it's also the basis of all oceanic and freshwater food chains. Which basically means is the source of everything.

In this image, the "variations in color are caused by different species and concentrations of phytoplankton. The bright blue colors are probably from coccolithophores, a type of phytoplankton that is coated in a chalky shell that reflects light, turning the ocean a milky turquoise. Coccolithophores dominate the Barents Sea in August. Shades of green are likely from diatoms, another type of phytoplankton."

Claude Monet would have loved to see and paint this. [NASA Earth Observatory via The Scuttle Fish]