Red tide on the coast of Rio de Janeiro •

Today Picture of the day from NASA Earth Observatory presents a satellite view of a harmful algal bloom (HAB), or red tide event, along the coastline of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The clear waters along the coast appear to be dark red due to the unusually widespread phytoplankton event.

According to a NASA report, phytoplankton blooms are common this time of year in Rio de Janeiro, but (unlike this particular outbreak) they usually contain species beneficial to the ecosystem.

The red tide consumed more than 200 kilometers of coastline and persisted for more than eight weeks.

Priscila Lange, an expert at the Department of Meteorology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said the red tide event is “very worrying” because of its potential impacts on the marine food web. She and her colleagues believe weeks of cloudiness and rain triggered the event.

“Once there was light, the red people – dinoflagellates, Mesodinium rubrum, etc. – bloomed like crazy!” said Lange.

She explained that in early December, the red tide reached Arraial do Cabo and “clouded the waters of Rio’s most pristine scuba diving paradise.”

The false-color image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on December 26, 2021.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

By Chrissy Sexon, Personal editor

Back To Top