Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe that they’ve found a completely natural warning system for climate change. That would be the color of the ocean.
The researchers claim that the effects of climate change can be tracked by observing the color of the ocean’s water from space. Based on their predictions, our planet is about to look a whole lot different very soon. In fact, it is predicted that 50 percent of the ocean will have a visible and significant difference before the end of the 21st century. This could hold some dangerous consequences.
When sunlight hits water, the molecules of water absorb certain colors of the light spectrum stronger than others. The least strongly absorbed color is the blue part, which means that the blue light reflects out, making the water appear as though it’s blue. But depending on what’s inside of the water, it’s appearance can change. For examples, areas with phytoplankton, (microscopic marine organisms), the ocean is more likely to be green since they absorb more of the blue light and reflect green as well.
MIT has managed to create a model of the Earth that will be stimulated by future changes in the phytoplankton ecosystem as water temperatures rise due to climate change. Their system will also be able to predict what the effects of those changes will be on the color of the ocean, and has been proven to be effective when tested against sunlight reflection measurements.
The team of researchers believe that their new method can help us be more prepared for the domino effect that the changes in phytoplankton can have on the remainder of the marine ecosystem.
By using satellites to keep an eye out for early signs of color changes in the oceans, the MIT team believes we may be able to better prepare for the domino effect that changes in phytoplankton can have on the rest of a marine ecosystem.