AKIPRESS.COM - Climate change doesn’t just happen in the air, in the dirt, or in the fearsome pages of damning studies. It happens before our eyes.
And so, as our planet continues to warm, our oceans will turn deeper shades of blue and green, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Communications. The changes in color are in part a function of the fluctuating populations of phytoplankton, or algae — the microscopic plants that, across their thousands of different species, do some rather heavy lifting for the global ecosystem. Running a model through the end of this century, the researchers estimate that more than 50 percent of the world’s oceans will exhibit changes in color by the year 2100, as their algae populations rise and fall, Atlas Obscura wrote.
Because every species is different, climate change will wreak different effects on different communities of phytoplankton. In the subtropics, for example, the waters are expected to become more blue as the population of algae falls.
Waters near the poles, on the other hand, are expected to turn deeper shades of green as the warmer conditions beckon the algae to boom. More algae means more green because their chlorophyll pigments — the ones that absorb sunlight for photosynthesis — absorb more of the blue end of the electromagnetic spectrum, and less of the green. Water itself does not absorb blue light, so the emptier it is, the bluer it will be.