The Southern Oceans are getting greener and cooler as the amount of marine plants (phytoplankton) has been increasing in the last 21 years. These changes appear to be happening faster during the winter, which suggests that the growing season is getting longer. This is important because the Southern Ocean has a big role in the biology and chemistry of the oceans, and in regulating the Earth’s climate. This work was done using 21 years of data from two NASA satellites, coinciding with Al Gore’s now infamous predictions of doom and gloom from global warming.
The concentration of chlorophyll is also an indicator for the amount of photosynthetic plankton, or phytoplankton, present in the ocean. Phytoplankton populations are influenced by climatic factors such as sea surface temperatures and winds.
At the base of the ocean food web are single-celled algae and other plant-like organisms known as phytoplankton. Like plants on land, phytoplankton use chlorophyll and oth