Don’t follow the lights

This image, taken by NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite, shows a really cool interaction between politics, geography, ocean science, and people.

This image is one of the frames taken by the VIIRS instrument on that satellite which is able to image the planet at night and is very sensitive to light. Off the coast of Argentina, you can clearly observe this strange pattern of lights, sitting on the ocean away from land.

That pattern is driven by several forces. The lights you see are the lights of fishing boats. They concentrate off the shores at night as they try to follow the Malvinas current; a nutrient-rich ocean current that flows north along the coastline. They’re fishing for a species of squid that is popular in those waters.

However, the light pattern bends in the middle and heads off in two directions because of political borders. They also follow the borders that mark the exclusive fishing zones of Argentina and the Falkland Islands.

-JBB

Image credit: NASA/EO

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82271

Don’t follow the lights

This image, taken by NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite, shows a really cool interaction between politics, geography, ocean science, and people.

This image is one of the frames taken by the VIIRS instrument on that satellite which is able to image the planet at night and is very sensitive to light. Off the coast of Argentina, you can clearly observe this strange pattern of lights, sitting on the ocean away from land.

That pattern is driven by several forces. The lights you see are the lights of fishing boats. They concentrate off the shores at night as they try to follow the Malvinas current; a nutrient-rich ocean current that flows north along the coastline. They’re fishing for a species of squid that is popular in those waters.

However, the light pattern bends in the middle and heads off in two directions because of political borders. They also follow the borders that mark the exclusive fishing zones of Argentina and the Falkland Islands.

-JBB

Image credit: NASA/EO

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82271