Due to climate change, the surface of the oceans will change color at the end of the 21st century, which will make our blue planet visibly altered, according to a new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The findings showed that climate change has significantly affected phytoplankton, the tiny marine creatures, in the world’s oceans, which will lead to color change, intensifying its blue and green regions.
“There will be a noticeable difference in the color of 50 percent of the ocean by the end of the 21st century,” said lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz, a senior MIT research scientist.
“It could be potentially very serious, different types of phytoplankton absorb light differently, and if climate change changes one community of phytoplankton to another, that will also change the types of food webs they can support,” Dutkiewicz added.
The study said that blue regions, such as subtropics, will become darker, reflecting even less phytoplankton, and life in general, in those waters.
Some regions that are now greener, such as near the poles, may acquire a deeper tone, as warmer temperatures produce more diverse phytoplankton.
The study published in the journal Nature Communications said that climate change was already changing the composition of phytoplankton and, by extension, the color of the oceans and the color of the blue planet.
The oceans look blue because the water molecules only absorb almost all the sunlight, except the blue part of the spectrum, but with any organism in the ocean, phytoplankton, for example, the pigment will absorb less in the green portions and will reflect more light green.
For the study, the researchers developed a global model that simulates the growth and interaction of different phytoplankton species.
When global temperatures increased by up to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, they found that the wavelengths of light in the blue or green waveband responded faster.
Dutkiewicz observed that this blue or green wave band showed a very clear signal, or change, due specifically to climate change.