News ID: 238470
Published: 0943 GMT February 05, 2019

MIT study: Earth may not appear as blue by 2100

MIT study: Earth may not appear as blue by 2100

Owing to climate change surface of the oceans will change color by end of 21st century leading our blue planet to look visibly altered, finds a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the US.

The findings 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 color — intensifying its blue and green regions, wrote.

"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 principal research scientist at MIT.

"It 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.

The study said the blue regions, such as the subtropics, will turn shades darker, reflecting even less phytoplankton — and life in general — in those waters. Some regions that are greener now, such as near the poles, may turn a deeper hue, as warmer temperatures brew up more diverse phytoplankton.

The study reported in the journal Nature Communications said climate change was already changing the makeup of phytoplankton, and by extension, the color of the oceans and the color of the blue planet.

The oceans 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.

For the 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°C 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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