Climate change may alter ocean color this century

Rising temperatures will cause phytoplankton in the water to decrease in number, reducing the amount of sunlight absorbed. This will essentially change the color of the ocean.


NSFW    CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — The oceans are expected to become bluer and greener by the end of the 21st Century, according to a study published in Nature Communications.

Researchers from MIT and the University of Southampton noted that phytoplankton at the surface of the sea absorbs and reflects the sunlight. This gives the ocean its current bluish-green hue.

Rising temperatures and acidity will cause phytoplankton in the water to decrease in number, essentially changing the color of the ocean as less sunlight is absorbed.

The study explains that parts of the ocean will gradually turn a deep blue in color while others gradually turn darker green over the next 80 years. However, this change probably won't be visible to the naked eye, lead author of the study, Dr. Stephanie Dutkiewicz, told the BBC.

The researchers were experimenting on the assumption that ocean temperatures would have risen by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Weather patterns such as El Nino or La Nina could also change the color of the ocean, according to a press release by MIT.
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