By the end of the 21st century, our grandkids and great-grandkids will be looking at a different colored ocean than what we are used to seeing.
By the year 2100, climate change will cause more than 50 percent of the world’s oceans to change color, according to a recently released study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Climate change will intensify the blue and green regions of our oceans, the study suggested. The change is not drastic, but it is a clear, physical example of how a changing climate is capable of altering the earth’s environment.
Climate change, in broad terms, is the overall shift in higher global temperatures affecting climates across the globe. Climate can be affected by many things, but you and I are the biggest reason for change. Actually, all 7.6 billion of us, to be more specific. Earth’s average temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s, due to increased carbon dioxide and emissions since the industrial revolution.
The term is widely accepted by the scientific community; however, our current government administration does not acknowledge it to be true. With a surmounting amount of proof, it’s strange that people can still deny the impacts of climate change, especially in the past few years. According to NASA, a government facility, most of Earth’s overall warming has occurred in the past 35 years. The New York Times reported that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, only to be beat out by the previous three years with 2015 in third, 2017 in second and 2016 in first. Who knows what 2019 will bring, but by the looks of it, not overall cooler weather.
Our ocean’s colors depend on how sunlight interacts with what is in the water like phytoplankton, which contain chlorophyll. When there are more organisms in the water, the color of the water can shift, depending on how color is reflected. If there are more phytoplankton, they reflect green, creating a deeper green color in the ocean. However, when a section of the ocean lacks organisms, the water appears to be a deeper blue.
According to the MIT study, the simulation showed the Earth’s temperature rising, causing phytoplankton and other organisms to have to adapt. With these adaptations, the color of the ocean will show a significant difference, a physical marker of more changes to come. But the changes in ocean color isn’t all that is going to change. Sea levels will rise, hurricanes will become stronger and droughts will become worse, NASA predicts.
We’re hitting a point in human history where the time to start making major environmental changes was yesterday. The world around us is changing, and it’s because of us and our ancestors. There are steps being taken, like Gainesville enacting a ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam, but they are small, and frankly, not enough. People are slow to change in just about every aspect of life, but in regards to the environment, it’s time to kick it into high gear.
We don’t have time to try to convince people that climate change is a real, scientifically proven phenomenon. The earth’s temperature is rapidly increasing, and we can do our part individually to help the environment, but it’s the governments across the globe that are going to have to make significant changes in policies. Our grandkids and great-grandkids aren’t going to be able to experience the same things we did, especially in Florida where our beaches, and the people who live on them, are at risk.
Our oceans may not yet be changing drastically in color, but they serve as a warning sign of more changes to come. It’s time our administration and countries across the world acknowledge the disaster that is waiting for us in just a few decades and start to take action.