Jun 25, 2019 07:26 AM EDT
Have you seen the stunning aquamarine color of the Caribbean Sea along the borders of the Seven Mile Beach of the Cayman Islands. More than 1,500 miles away, the Atlantic Ocean fronting the Coney Island keeps its dark bluish green hue. Did you know that the Bondi Blue color of the Apple computers was named after the hue of the Tasman Sea off the coast of the Sydney beach.
Pollution is not to be blamed for these differences in colors. Rather, tiny sediments known as color-rich dissolved organic materials as well as microscopic algae are metaphorically causing the ocean waters appear muddy, which then causes it to achieve its red, green or brown color.
Now, scientist are looking into these microscopic elements to help make a better prediction of what is to happen if climate change worsens. The ocean colors have become vital in researches about climate change. Although it has been challenging to measure the temperature on the surface level, the ever changing color of the ocean has been linked to temperature. This process has helped turn satellite images into de facto heat maps. Reaching an understanding of what drives color to the ocean can help scientists make their equations sharper and more direct to the point.
Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) are often overlooked but clearly recognizable. They are characterized by potential soil runoff near the ocean shore. They also show the products left behind by living creatures from the open water. Simply put, CDOM is the one causing the change in color of the ocean waters because of a combination of various natural elements.
The two studies that are concerned with the role of CDOM in determining the effects of climate change in the temperature of the ocean waters collected their data in two ways. One model showed the incorporation of the phytoplankton and CDOM and how it sped up the process of collecting data to show the warming of the waters. Another model factored in the surface temperature of the ocean. It showed how the temperatures reach their extreme levels -- hottest months of the year become hotter.
"The results show that an accurate forecasts or models if CDOM is not factored in," says Heidi Dierssen, a professor from the University of Connecticut. "This is incredible work and it is really going to change the way we've been creating climate models in the past."
The results of the two studies are released in the journal Nature Communications and Geophysical Research Letters.
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