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10 vivid maps that show Earth in a new light

By: Bryan Nelson on Dec. 5, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
Chlorophyll concentration

Photo: NASA

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Chlorophyll concentration

Another important measure of Earth's carbon cycle, as well as ocean health and the health of the ocean food chain, is the chlorophyll concentration of the ocean. Chlorophyll is the green-colored, light-harvesting pigment found in all photosynthetic plants. Measured here in August 2014 is the concentration of the ocean's phytoplankton biomass, the tiny organisms at the foundation of the entire ocean food chain. Yellow or white areas show the highest concentrations. 

This measure is so important to our understanding of the planet's ecosystem that the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer instrument aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites take this measure every single day over the entire planet.