Could the world's oceans get bluer? Scientists say they will and that's bad news

2019-02-13 20:00
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Want bluer oceans for popping travel pics? Well you might be getting it, but it's going to cost us.

According to researchers from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the oceans of the planet will be more vividly coloured in the none too distant future. Greens will look more green and blues will look bluer as a result of climate change and a set of interrelated consequences stemming from climate change. 

The colour of the oceans "...depends on how sunlight is reflected by whatever is in the water. Microorganisms called phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, a pigment that absorbs more of the blue part of the light spectrum and less of the green. The green light is reflected. So water with more phytoplankton has a greenish hue. Areas without the organisms, like the middle of the ocean, look blue," according to the Weather Channel

SEE: Responsible tourism in the time of last chances

This is why and how the oceans are coloured the way that they are.

Phytoplankton's growth is contingent on a number of factors, including the nutrient content of the water and the amount of sunlight and carbon dioxide present in the area. Climate change affects all of these factors and consequently will impact on phytoplankton. 

The study, published in Nature Communications, shows that phytoplankton and the nutrients they need to survive will be affected by our changing world, which will have the effect of reducing the prevalence of these phytoplankton resulting in bluer waters. Other areas where the opposite is happening will see the oceans become greener. 

The news is gloomy, but South Africans can rejoice in the fact that some progress is being made locally to protect our oceans. Last year South Africa approved 20 new and expanded Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), bringing the total protection of the oceans around South Africa up to 5% (from 0.4%).

SEE: #OnlyThisMuch: SA announces 5% ocean protection, up from 0.4% 

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