(ORDO NEWS) — Climate change is affecting the Earth so dramatically that the color of the planet is also changing. In a new study, scientists have shown how global warming is turning the world’s blue lakes into a hazy green-brown color.
The color of the lake is affected by many factors, most notably the level of algae and sediment. Recent studies also show how air temperature, precipitation, lake depth and altitude also help determine the hue of the lake.
Blue lakes account for less than a third of the world’s lakes, with green-brown lakes making up the remaining two-thirds.
Bluer lakes tend to be deeper and are in cooler high latitude regions with more rainfall and winter ice cover. Green-brown lakes are found in drier regions, continental interiors, and along coastlines.
Due to climate change, these rare blue lakes seem to be getting even rarer. Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied more than 5 million Landsat-8 satellite images detailing 85,360 lakes and reservoirs from around the world from 2013 to 2020.
The researchers closely monitored the change in their color. You can see the results of their work on the map below.
A new study presents the most comprehensive lake color map showing that most of the world’s lakes are already green-brown rather than blue.
Researchers have found that the number of blue lakes is declining. They believe that the reason for this is an increase in global temperature, which leads to the growth of algae in lakes.
Although microscopic in size, the growth of algae can fundamentally change the mass change of a lake.
“Warmer water, which leads to more algal blooms, will cause lakes to turn green,” said study author and University of Illinois aquatic ecologist Katherine O’Reilly.
“No one wants to swim in a green lake,” O’Reilly said. “So from an aesthetic standpoint, some lakes that we may have always thought of as sanctuary or spiritual places may disappear as the color changes.”
However, aesthetic changes are only the beginning of the problem. The color changes also show how these ecosystems are drastically changing, which affects wildlife and people.
“If you use lakes for fishing, subsistence or drinking water, the changes in water quality that are likely to occur as the lakes become greener will likely mean that it will cost more to treat that water,” O’Reilly explained.
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