Why Colors Are Different Underwater?


Ever wondered why the colors underwater are always different and changing compared to their true colors on the surface?

I wondered about that too. And to feed your minds and stop your curiosity, here’s why, dear diver.

Lets get to the point. Here’s the reason behind it – the deeper a diver is divulged, the lesser the light touches the water. It is a known fact that water is much more denser than air which is why when a diver reaches 300 ft (80 m) of depth, there’s no more visible light left.  

And as a result, colors tend to disappear as we go deep down underwater.

There are times where the colors of the corals in the ocean could be different when out in the surface and scientifically, this fact can be explained by the visible light spectrum.

Are you familiar with Newton and the color spectrum? It talks about how the light spectrum could be broken up into well-known constituent colors.
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet are ordered from the lowest to the highest of light absorption in the water.  With that said, the colors are different when under the water; they are considered to be nothing more than different wavelengths reflected by an object.

In typical conditions, as a diver get down to 5m deep, the color red will disappear. Three more meters and the orange color will disappear, as illustrated below:




This is one of the reason why divers tend to bring torches under the water in order to fully grasp the object’s identity. Unlike the regular flashlights, diving torches usually contain the entire spectrum making the colors visible even if the diver goes deeper into the lightless depth of the ocean.

Underwater photographers are not exceptions – they are also being prevented to take the natural color of the object when they reach the depths where the light is almost non-existent, unless the camera’s flash is good enough to fully capture its color in a single shot. The stronger the light is underwater, the clearer the colors can be seen.

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Note: Photo credits to due owners

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