by Charles the moderator, February 5, 2019 in WUWT
Climate-driven changes in phytoplankton communities will intensify the blue and green regions of the world’s oceans
From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world’s oceans, and a new MIT study finds that over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean’s color, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones. Satellites should detect these changes in hue, providing early warning of wide-scale changes to marine ecosystems.
Writing in Nature Communications, researchers report that they have developed a global model that simulates the growth and interaction of different species of phytoplankton, or algae, and how the mix of species in various locations will change as temperatures rise around the world. The researchers also simulated the way phytoplankton absorb and reflect light, and how the ocean’s color changes as global warming affects the makeup of phytoplankton communities.
The researchers ran the model through the end of the 21st century and found that, by the year 2100, more than 50 percent of the world’s oceans will shift in color, due to climate change.