Oceans’ colour changing due to human-induced climate change: British study

LONDON: A recent study by a British scientific Journal Nature, led by scientists from the National Oceanography Center in the UK and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, revealed that the colour of the ocean has changed significantly over the past 20 years due to human-induced climate change.

According to the study, published on Wednesday, over 56% of the world’s oceans have experienced colour changes beyond, what can be called, natural variations. The change has been particularly pronounced in tropical oceans located near the equator, indicating shifts in their ecosystems.

As per the study, the oceans’ colour is derived from the composition of its upper layers, for instance, a deep blue appearance signifies a scarcity of life, while a green tint suggests the presence of ecosystems supported by phytoplankton – microscopic, plant-like organisms containing chlorophyll. These phytoplankton serve as the foundation of a food chain that sustains larger marine organisms such as krill, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.

“It is expected that all areas of the ocean will witness shifts in the types of phytoplankton present,” according to co-author of the study and a senior research scientist at MIT’s department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and the Center for Global Change Science, Stephanie Dutkiewicz.

She adds that ocean ecosystems are delicately balanced, and any alterations in phytoplankton populations could impact the food chain.

“All changes are causing an imbalance in the natural organisation of ecosystems. Such imbalance will only get worse over time if our oceans keep heating,” Dutkiewicz warned.

Although researchers are still figuring out the outcomes of the changes, they are certain that human-induced climate change was the driving force behind the significant transformation.

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