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NASA Sees Our Ocean in Color. How About You?

NASA Sees Our Ocean in Color. How About You?

NASA Sees Our Ocean in Color. How About You?

Take a deep breath. Feel the oxygen in your lungs. We have the ocean to thank for that! Over long time scales, between 50 and 70 percent of our planet’s oxygen is produced by microscopic organisms living in the ocean.

Today is World Oceans Day! And as our planet’s climate continues to change, we want to understand how one of our biggest ecosystems is changing with it.

Wondering how you can celebrate with NASA? We’ve got downloadable coloring pages and online coloring interactives to show how we study the ocean. Read on.

From Space to Sea

Download ocean missions coloring page here
Download Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich coloring page here

We use planes, boats, Earth-observing satellites and much more to study the ocean and partner with organizations all over the world. Here are a few examples:

From Sea

The Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS) is one way we study the ocean from the sea to study changes in the ocean’s carbon cycle. In May, scientists and crew conducted research on three ships in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. They hope to create models to better understand climate change patterns.

From Space

Launched last year, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft began a five-and-a-half-year prime mission to collect the most accurate data yet on global sea level and how our oceans are rising in response to climate change. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is just one of many satellites monitoring the ocean from space. Together with other Earth-observing spacecraft, the mission will also collect precise data of atmospheric temperature and humidity to help improve weather forecasts and climate models.

Finding Eddies

Download Eddies Coloring Page

The ocean is full of eddies – swirling water masses that look like hurricanes in the atmosphere. Eddies are often hot spots for biological activity that plays an important role in absorbing carbon. . We find eddies by looking for small changes in the height of the ocean surface, using multiple satellites continuously orbiting Earth. We also look at eddies up close, using ships and planes to study their role in the carbon cycle.

Monitoring Aerosols and Clouds

Clouds coloring interactive here

Aerosols coloring interactive here

Tiny particles in the air called aerosols interact with clouds. These interactions are some of the most poorly understood components of Earth’s climate system. Clouds and aerosols can absorb, scatter or reflect incoming radiation – heat and light from the Sun – depending on their type, abundance and locations in the atmosphere. We’re building new instruments to better understand aerosols and contribute to air quality forecasts.

The Ocean in Living Color
Download PACE coloring page here

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission will continue and greatly advance observations of global ocean color, biogeochemistry, and ecology, as well as Earth’s carbon cycle and atmospheric aerosols and clouds. It’s set to launch in late 2023 to early 2024. Want to learn more? Click here to see how PACE will collect data and here to see what PACE will see through our coloring interactives. (Make sure to check out the hidden surprises in both!)

Exploring Ocean Worlds on Earth and Beyond

Download Clouds coloring page here

Using our understanding of oceans on Earth, we also study oceans on other planets. Mars, for example, contains water frozen in the ice caps or trapped beneath the soil. But there’s even more water out there. Planets and moons in our solar system and beyond have giant oceans on their surface. Saturn’s moon Enceladus is thought to have a massive ocean under its frozen surface, which sometimes sprays into space through massive fissures in the ice.

Learn more about ocean worlds here:

Interested in learning more about how NASA studies oceans? Follow @NASAClimate, @NASAOcean and @NASAEarth.

You can also find all the coloring pages and interactives here.

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