Scientists say the colors of the world’s oceans will intensify at the end of the century due to climate change that threatens the marine ecosystem from the bottom up.
The color of 50 percent of the sea will change in 2100 Due to changes in phytoplankton communities, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study was published earlier this month in Nature Communications. Scientists say the blue water in subtropical areas will be more blue, while the currently greener water near the poles will turn out to be greener.
The phytoplankton or algae referred to by scientists are small vital marine organisms ] which can change in the population due to sea temperature, which several climate studies have shown to increase rapidly. The study used a climate model that projected changes in the ocean during the century and showed changes in the color of the sea in a world that is 3 degrees Celsius warmer ̵
1; which researchers already predict will happen 2100 .
Water molecules absorb all parts of sunlight, except blue wavelengths, which are reflected and give the sea its blue hue. Phytoplankton has a green pigment called chlorophyll, so sea surfaces with higher populations of phytoplankton appear greener and surfaces with fewer phytoplankton are bluer.
The study says that climate change will cause phytoplankton to bloom in certain sea areas while reducing it in others, which leads to changes in the watercolor. Heating in subtropical areas can deprive phytoplankton of nutrients and reduce their population, but heating in polar regions can provide a better environment for them to grow. Researchers say that the color changes become too gradual because an average person will notice over time, but the shift is a much larger speaker of other problems in the sea.
“It could be potentially quite serious,” author Stephanie Dutkiewicz  in a press release . “If climate change turns a community of phytoplankton into another, it will also change the types of food paths they can support.”
Phytoplankton is the basis of the food chain for marine foods, so a reduction of algae could trigger a reaction affecting sea fish populations. The algae also absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, so a reduction of phytoplankton can mean more carbon dioxide in the air.
The study said that it may take a while before researchers can properly predict how climate change affects the phytoplankton communities, so the next best way is to pay attention to the ocean’s color changes.
“Changes are due to climate change,” Dutkiewicz told The Washington Post . “It will be a while before we can statistically show it. But the change in the color of the sea will be one of the early warning signs that we have really changed our planet.”