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  • The blue regions of the ocean will become more blue, a reflection of a decrease in phytoplankton.

    The blue regions of the ocean will become more blue, a reflection of a decrease in phytoplankton. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 8 February 2019

The study claims that this change will likely be noticeable by the year 2100, while other scientists predict that the changes could be visible much sooner, as early as in the 2050s.

According to a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the oceans will lose their traditional blue color in about 80 years, as climate change progresses.

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The researchers say the phytoplankton organism, which influences the color of the water, are displaying an alarming pattern that will alter the ability of the surface of the ocean to absorb and reflect sunlight.

The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change’s research team explained that the current trend dictates that the hue of the ocean will become more intensified, effecting a major change.

“There will be a noticeable difference in the color of 50 percent of the ocean by the end of the 21st century,” Dr. Stephanie Dutkiewicz, who led the study, remarked.

“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.”

The study claims that the change will likely be noticeable by the year 2100, while other scientists predict that the changes could be visible much sooner, as early as in the 2050s.

The blue regions of the ocean will become more blue, a reflection of a decrease in phytoplankton; while green regions will turn deeper green, as temperatures get warmer and increase the population of the chlorophyll-laden phytoplankton, which are the base of the marine food chain. 

Extremities which accompany the El Niño weather phenomenon could also be a significant factor in changes in the color of the water.

Oceans appear blue because water molecules absorb almost all sunlight except for the blue part of the spectrum.

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