Oceans will be bluer and greener in color in 2100, thanks to climate change

Climate change is not only increasing the sea level but will also change the color of the ocean by 2100. A new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found the relation between color and climate change. The color won’t be extremely dramatic and hardly noticeable by the human eye but the change is real.

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The warming planet is changing the distribution of phytoplankton across the world’s oceans. It’s well-known that seasonal changes regularly change colors, bit warmer oceans may permanently alter the mosaic of blues and greens as seen from space. In subtropical regions, warm waters will get even warmer, driving out phytoplankton populations and even marine life, in general. In water closer to poles, the warming will make the water appear greener while in subtropical regions, it will appear bluer.

“These microscopic organisms live in the water and are the base of the marine food chain,” said Stephanie Dutkiewicz, a marine ecologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the leader of the study, published Feb. 4 in the journal Nature Communications. “By being in the water, they change the color that we see by eye. If there are less of them in it, the water will be slightly bluer.”

Phytoplanktons are very small plants residing in the water bodies. They provide food for the fishes and other sea animals. They are the food chain initiator in the water bodies.  Scientists have found that climate change will likely alter the types of phytoplankton that abound in future oceans.

For their research, Dutkiewicz and her colleagues developed a computer model that simulated changes in the world’s climate from 1860 through 2100. The model assumed that global temperatures would rise by 3 degrees Celsius — which is what most scientists think will happen if no effort is made to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The simulations, which take about three weeks to run on a large array of computers, revealed we can expect our oceans to look a little different in the future.

Climate change is real though many of our leaders don’t want to believe it. This effect of the color change is a little trivial but the main issue is the decline in the population of phytoplankton. They initiate the marine food chain and without them, the sea animals would die. Let’s hope we save that the conservative estimation of 3 degrees Celsius rise doesn’t become the reality.

What do you think?

Written by Sugat Srivastava

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