Why is the ocean blue?

blueMy immediate answer is that the ocean had a rough day at the office.

A lot of people think it is because of the reflection of the sky, but, that is missing an important part of the puzzle. If you think about it the ocean is not really blue everywhere, is it?

What needs to be said is that sunlight particles may be reflected by the surface of the water, but, some may not. The sun contains all colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Yellow and red are absorbed immediately within the surface of the water leaving the green and blue to our naked eye.

What does this have to do with the fact that the ocean isn’t blue everywhere? Well, that all depends on what is in the oceans too. Different things absorb the sunlight differently. If the ocean floor is bare, the ocean appears crystalline blue. If there is a lot of plant life (phytoplankton, other plants or organic materials) it will generally appear greener.

But we’ve only scratched the surface here. Check back often at beachchairscientist.com for more insight about your favorite beach discoveries.

Image (c) of FreeFoto.com.

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