Oceans are undoubtedly the largest body of water on planet Earth, comprising three-quarters of the planet’s hydrosphere. If you have ever wondered why and how such a large water body could have its water split in different colors, then herein lies your answer. Sometimes water in the ocean seems red and dark, or light blue at a different time, or better still, blue or brown. This is quite fascinating and interesting to learn what causes it. To kick off, we essentially have to understand why water appears blue.
It is of utmost importance to keep in mind that pure water is not colored but colorless or rather, clear. Light from the sun plays a significant role in every color that our eyes and brains perceive from the ocean. Water is made up of molecules which absorb light in a fashion commonly referred to as selective absorption. Therefore, water appears blue because its molecules absorb green, yellow, red, as well as orange wavelengths—hence leaving solitary blue wavelengths. Blue wavelengths are weaker and shorter compared to other wavelengths. As a result, they bounce back for human eyes and brains to perceive.
Additionally, oceanic water appears dark red or rather colored differently other than blue in various places because of depth. According to research conducted by Cell Mentor, the depth of ocean water plays a great role in whatever color we perceive. When water is deep enough, nearly all the sun’s rays get absorbed because of the absence of organic matter as well as sediments. This results in some parts of oceanic water appearing in a darker color when compared to other parts of the same ocean or different ocean.
Alternatively, shallow waters have a high concentration of sediments and organic matter which enthrall light wavelengths more than water. This in turn affects whatever resulting color will bounce off the ocean’s surface. For instance, sections having lots of phytoplanktons will result in different shades vacillating between blue-green to green. It is as a result of phytoplankton containing chlorophyll, which readily takes in red and blue light in massive quantities reflecting green.
Another fascinating sight is when the water appears brown in some parts of the ocean. This is usually triggered by a natural process known as upwelling. It is whereby, cold water at the bottom moves up replacing warm water which was on top and usually moves out to sea. As a result, water will appear brown or dirty due to the wave effect causing sand as well as silt to float at the moment. Further, it could be as a result of different organisms from the bottom reflecting illumination differently.
In fine, it is crystal clear that oceanic water usually exhibits different sight-pleasing instances including the color variations. The good thing is that there is a good explanation behind these geographic beauties. Illumination wavelengths and water molecules, plus all organisms, play a significant role in the color of the water. Plus, the depth of the water equally affects the color perceived from the ocean at a given location at a given time.