A recent report from the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab has revealed that the expected massive seaweed bloom in Florida earlier this year has significantly decreased in size. In October, there was an estimated 150,000 metric tons of sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean Sea, and most of it had dissipated by the end of the month. There was also very little sargassum overall in the Gulf of Mexico, and nearly half of the sargassum in the Central Atlantic was situated west of the African coast.
According to scientists, these abundances are much smaller compared to recent years, even for this time of year. They believe that minimal sargassum will be present in all regions in November. If there is going to be a new sargassum bloom for 2024, the first indications will appear in December.
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, a mass of seaweed stretching from Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, caused concern earlier this year when scientists were worried about its potential impact on Florida beaches. However, with significant decrease in size and movement, scientists are now less concerned about it.
In June and July, there were indications that the seaweed was shrinking and moving away from Florida beaches further alleviating concerns about its impact on people with respiratory issues as well as carrying Vibrio flesh-eating bacteria. Scientists are closely monitoring the situation but are encouraged by these developments.
The latest report and updates on sargassum situation can be found on University of South Florida’s website. For more information on this topic, you can watch an episode of “Talk to Tom” where Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells discusses the sargassum belt with one of researchers studying this phenomenon.
In summary: The massive stinky seaweed bloom that was expected to hit Florida earlier this year has significantly decreased in size according to a report from University Of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab. Scientists believe minimal sargassum will be present