Falkland Islands

Off the east coast of the southern tip of South America, the Falkland Islands seem to be on the verge of being overtaken by clouds in this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from the Aqua satellite on March 30, 2003. The two islands, West and East Falkland, are separated by Falkland Sound. The relative isolation of the Falklands makes them important habitat and breeding grounds for more than 60 species of birds, five species of penguins, and several species of seals. The wildlife is so central to the area that many place names revolve around animals. The small cluster of islands located southeast (roughly bottom center) of the mainland´s southeast tip are called Sea Lion Islands. At the northern tip of east Falkland is Cape Dolphin. One of the many islands of the northwest coast of West Falkland is called Carcass Island, perhaps in reference to whales that occasionally beach themselves in the region.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands show unusually clearly in this true-color Terra MODIS image acquired September 25, 2002. The two main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland, are United Kingdom territories east of the southernmost Argentinean coast in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. The narrow strip of water between the two islands is the Falkland Sound.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are a small group of islands 480 kilometers (about 300 miles) east of the Strait of Magellan (the straight crossing the southern point of South America). The two main islands are East Falkland and West Falkland, though some 200 small islands are also part of this British-administered colony. The islands are rocky, wet, and windswept, but are ideally suited for sheep-raising. The waters surrounding the islands are home to great whale and seal populations, and were hunted heavily in the not-too-distant past. Fish are also abundant, and besides sheep, the fishing trade is one of the mainstays of this distant island´s economy.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Phytoplankton bloom near Falkland Islands, South Atlantic Ocean

In the South Atlantic waters that surround the Falkland Islands, off the southeast coast of South America, bright blue and green patterns indicate vast populations of marine plants called phytoplankton. This true-color MODIS image from November 4, 2001, shows a bloom of the plants. Ocean circulation patterns make the area favorable for blooms of this kind. Warm waters from the south-flowing Brazil Current mix with a north-flowing branch of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and this mixing brings up nutrients that feed the phytoplankton.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Phytoplankton bloom near Falkland Islands, South Atlantic Ocean

To the north and east of the Falkland Islands, shown here just to the left of center, the South Atlantic Ocean is vibrant with color. This true-color MODIS image from November 13, 2001, shows the waters in the South Atlantic swirling with the blues and greens that indicate massive amounts of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. The variety of colors can be due to varying concentrations and types of phytoplankton and the chlorophyll and other pigments they contain. The bright blue swath to the east of the Falklands is most likely a blue-green algae called Trichodesmium or else coccolithophores, which make limestone (calcite) shells around themselves using dissolved carbon from the ocean water. Very dark green areas (almost purple in places), such as the area directly north of the Falklands, could be caused by extremely high levels of phytoplankton--so much light being absorbed by chlorophyll that the water appears dark.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Spring Bloom around Falkland Islands

A bright phytoplankton bloom is visible in this SeaWiFS image of the Falkland Islands (the islands themselves are hidden under a cloud bank).
Source: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

Falkland Islands

A SeaWiFS view of the Falkland Islands.
Source: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE