Study: Climate change to alter color of oceans by end of century

Researchers predict the earth's oceans will undergo an alteration in color due to climate change. 

Scientists at MIT said by the end of the century the blue hues of the oceans could become more blue and the hues of green could get greener due to rising global temperatures. 

While the changes will be hard to detect with the naked eye, researchers said they're an early warning signal indicating how global warming is affecting the earth's ecosystem.

"It could be potentially quite serious," said lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz, a principal research scientist at MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

In their study, researchers developed a model simulating how different species of tiny algae called phytoplankton will grow and interact as the temperatures of the oceans rise. 

They found those rising temperatures will alter the color of phytoplankton and as a result, more than half of the world's oceans are expected to change in color by the year 2100. 

"That basic pattern will still be there. But it'll be enough different that it will affect the rest of the food web that phytoplankton supports," said Dutkiewicz.

Last month, an analysis of the world's oceans found they were the warmest on record in 2018 and temperatures are continuing to rise faster than scientists originally thought.