The Ocean

The nocturnal phenomenon of milky seas, explained by science

For centuries, a rare nocturnal phenomenon has occurred called 'milky seas'. Image: Unsplash/Lukas Robertson

Steven D. Miller

Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

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The Ocean

The bioluminescence in milky seas is caused by a type of bacteria. Image: Steve. H. D. Haddock/MBARI, CC BY-ND
Researchers found a milky sea event off the coast of Somalia, seen here as a pale swoosh in the top left image. The other panels show sea surface temperature, ocean currents and chlorophyll. Image: Steven D. Miller/NOAA

This milky sea off the coast of Java was the size of Kentucky and lasted for more than a month. Image: Steven D. Miller/NOAA
The two images of milky seas on the left were taken with older satellite technology while the images on the right show the high-definition imagery produced by the Day/Night Band sensor. Image: Steven D. Miller/NOAA

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The OceanScienceSDIS2021Climate Change

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