EARTH'S oceans will turn a deep green by the end of the century as climate change affects the planet, a study has predicted. "I would probably predict that the colour change isn't going to be perceptible to the naked eye", said Hickman. The phytoplankton that live in the sunlit part of the ocean are hugely important, as they serve as the base of the marine food web. Their model can estimate wavelengths of light that are absorbed and reflected by the ocean, which obviously changes by a given region and the organisms in the water.
The discoveries demonstrated that environmental change has been altogether influencing phytoplankton - the sea creatures - on the planet's seas, which will prompt the adjustment in shading - heightening its blue and green regions. This water is "barren", and the typical oceanic blue is seen in open waters. So water with more phytoplankton has a greenish hue.
Mayotte, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Like their land-based cousin, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, a pigment that absorbs the Sun's blue wavelengths and reflects green light to produce carbon for photosynthesis.
The changes should be visible to satellites in low-Earth orbit. When more phytoplankton is present, more chlorophyll is created, and the water appears green. They pull carbon into the ocean while giving off oxygen.
But phytoplankton are vulnerable to the ocean's current warming trend.
"It's believed that the increased sightings are from the high temperatures we have had over the past few weeks warming the waters around the United Kingdom".
Aerial view of Jack's Point Beach, near Timaru.
Climate change doesn't just happen in the air, in the dirt, or in the fearsome pages of damning studies. As such, life in these areas as we know it today is likely to also change.
Some might argue the color of climate change is red - the color that most often marks dramatic temperature increases on climate maps.
According to the model's predictions, global warming will continue to alter the biochemical makeup of the world's oceans in ways that visibly alter its coloration.
Under high temperatures, certain types of phytoplankton can undergo a complex chemical reaction causing them to glow bright blue.
But in some waters, such as those of the Arctic, a warming will make conditions more ripe for phytoplankton, and these areas will turn more green.
So the team looked to satellite measurements of reflected light, instead.
"The satellites are going to be the sentinels", she said.
And why does that matter?
They serve as food to many aquatic animals but can also become risky.
Those kinds of changes could reverberate up the food chain. "But it'll be enough different that it will affect the rest of the food web that phytoplankton supports", said Dutkiewicz. The study's findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.
"It'll be a while before we can statistically show that".
The group tweaked a computer model that it has used in the past to predict phytoplankton changes with rising temperatures and ocean acidification.