Light penetration in the ocean

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Great question! This is because water absorbs sunlight before it can reach the bottom of the ocean. We could only see the seafloor if light traveled down that far, reflected off the seafloor, and returned to our eyes or cameras.

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Light absorption in the sea reduces the amount of visible light rapidly with depth. The colors that you can see beneath the sea depend on the wavelength of light available to illuminate an object. Also, the intensity of this light decreases rapidly with water depth, for example.

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Use Advanced Search to search by activities, standards, and more. Visible sunlight makes up about 40 percent of the total energy Earth receives from the sun. The rest of the energy Earth receives from the sun is not visible.

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Light in the ocean is like light in no other place on Earth. It is a world that is visibly different from our familiar terrestrial world, and one that marine animals, plants, and microbes are adapted to in extraordinary ways. Light behaves very differently when it moves from air into water.

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It only takes a minute to sign up.

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This article describes the habitat of the Open oceans. It is one of the sub-categories within the section dealing with biodiversity of marine habitats and ecosystems. It gives an overview about the characteristics, zonationbiology and threats of the open oceans.

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It's a glorious sunny morning out at sea—I have to wear sunglasses up on deck from the glare off the water, and plenty of sunblock on my nose! Let me explain The ocean is very, very deep; light can only penetrate so far below the surface of the ocean.

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The single most important factor in distinguishing vertical subdivisions of the benthic and pelagic realms is the availability of solar energy. Sunlight obviously cannot penetrate beyond a certain depth in the ocean. Some organisms have, however, evolved to cope with the absence of sunlight at great depths.

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Visible radiation, or light, from the Sun is important to the world's ocean systems for several reasons. It provides the energy necessary for ocean currents and wind-driven waves. Conversion of some of that energy into heat helps form the thin layer of warm water near the ocean's surface that supports the majority of marine life.

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Evaporation and precipitation determine the salinity of the ocean in any given region and both of these processes depend on energy from the sun. Heat from the sun drives the ocean currents and modifies our climate. Thus, it behooves us to know a little about sunlight in the sea. Oceanographers who study light in the sea and its interactions with the flora and fauna are called bio-optical oceanographers.

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