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Scientists say the giant sargassum seaweed blob headed for Florida has shrunk


Nov 20, 2023

In a report by scientists at the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab, it was noted that the giant mass of sargassum seaweed headed for Florida has significantly decreased in size. The report for October stated that only an estimated .15 million metric tons of the seaweed was detected in the Caribbean Sea that month, and much of it had dissipated by the end of October. Furthermore, there was 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 the report, these current abundances are notably smaller compared to recent years. The latest report can be found on the USF website.

Throughout November, scientists expect minimal sargassum in all regions, with indications of a new bloom for 2024 appearing in December. The giant mass of seaweed, known as the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, spans from Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. Concerns earlier this year about large amounts of seaweed washing up on Florida beaches and the associated smell of rotten eggs, caused by a toxic gas that can be harmful to people with respiratory issues, sparked widespread interest online.

Additionally, scientists found that the seaweed was carrying Vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria. However, in June and July, the mass began to shrink and shift. In an interview with News 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells, one of the researchers studying the sargassum belt explained the developments. For further details on the topic, you may watch the episode on “Talk to Tom.” For the latest news in Florida, you can access Your Florida Daily. This content is copyrighted by WKMG ClickOrlando.

By Editor

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