Feb 5. Owing to climate change surface of the oceans will change
colour by end of 21st century leading our blue planet to look visibly
altered, finds a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
change affecting phytoplankton
showed that climate change has been significantly affecting phytoplankton —
the tiny sea creatures — in the world’s oceans, which will lead to the change
in colour — intensifying its blue and green regions.
will be a noticeable difference in the colour of 50 per cent of the ocean by
the end of the 21st century,” said lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz, a
principal research scientist at MIT.
could be potentially quite serious. Different types of phytoplankton absorb
light differently, and if climate change shifts one community of phytoplankton
to another, that will also change the types of food webs they can
support,” Dutkiewicz added.
said the blue regions, such as the subtropics, will turn shades darker,
reflecting even less phytoplankton — and life in general — in those waters.
that are greener now, such as near the poles, may turn a deeper hue, as warmer
temperatures brew up more diverse phytoplankton.
reported in the journal Nature Communications said climate change was already
changing the makeup of phytoplankton, and by extension, the colour of the
oceans and the colour of the blue planet.
appear blue because water molecules alone absorb almost all sunlight except for
the blue part of the spectrum, but with any organism in the ocean, phytoplankton
for instance, the pigment in it will absorb less in the green portions and
reflect more green light.
study, the researchers developed a global model that simulates the growth and
interaction of different species of phytoplankton.
When they increased
the global temperatures by up to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, they found that
wavelengths of light in the blue or green wave band responded the fastest.
Dutkiewicz observed that this blue or green wave band showed a very clear signal, or shift, due specifically to climate change.
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