"Allure" by Xeon / CC BY 3.0

Climate change will even change the color of the oceans, study says

Feb 4, 2019

By Jen Christensen

The ocean will not look the same color in the future. It won’t turn pink or anything radically different; the change will be more apparent through optic sensors than though the human eye. But it serves as an early warning sign that global warming is significantly altering the planet’s ecosystems, according to a new study.

Essentially, climate change will make the blues of the ocean bluer and the greens greener. Scientists figured this out by creating a global model that simulates the growth of a tiny creature that lives in the oceans and affects the color we see. Their research was published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

The ocean looks blue or green to us because of a combination of how sunlight interacts with water molecules and with whatever else lives in that water.

The molecules in water absorb all but the blue part of the spectrum of sunlight, and the water reflects that blue color back. That’s the color we see.

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