Expedition to discover colour of the Atlantic Ocean

Scientists have undertaken a seafaring expedition to find out the colour of the Atlantic Ocean.

Updated: Mar 11, 2011, 19:01 PM IST

London: An international team of scientists have undertaken a seafaring expedition to find out the colour of the Atlantic Ocean.
They want to discover the impact of misty clouds of aerosol particles hanging above the water on algae that are the foundation of the marine food chain, reports the Telegraph.

Microscopic algae in the sea absorb around a third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities.

This process gives the waters a greenish shade as algae blooms close to the surface thrive.

But satellite images in recent years have shown large aerosol clouds forming above the oceans, particularly in the southern part of the Atlantic.

They increase the amount of the sun``s rays reflected away from the sea, reducing the amount of algae and therefore lessening the water``s greenish hue.

The project involves scientists from Brazil, Argentina, France and the US currently aboard Melville, a research vessel belonging to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

The team hope to gain more accurate measurements of what is happening than those taken from satellites that may be distorted by strong winds or waves.

“The satellite concentrations have not yet been confirmed with field data. We need to see, for example, this is not an effect caused by breaking waves at sea,” said Milton Kampel, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in Brazil.

They are also taking water samples to study the effect on algae.

The Melville left Cape Town in late February and is scheduled to arrive in Valparaiso, Chile, next week.