Researchers reveal decline in size of massive sargassum seaweed formation en route to Florida

The stinky seaweed bloom that was predicted to hit Florida earlier this year has significantly decreased in size, according to a report from the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab. In October, there was an estimated 150,000 metric tons of sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean Sea throughout the month. However, much of it had dissipated by the end of October. There was little sargassum overall in the Gulf of Mexico, and nearly half of the sargassum in the Central Atlantic was located west of the African coast.

Scientists believe that these abundances are much smaller compared to recent years, even for this time of year. The report noted that minimal sargassum will be present in all regions in November. Furthermore, if there is going to be a new sargassum bloom for 2024, the first indications will appear in December.

The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, which is 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 the significant decrease in size and movement of the seaweed, it has become less of a concern.

In June and July, there were indications that the seaweed was shrinking and moving further alleviating concerns about its impact on Florida beaches. This is good news as the seaweed was expected to leave a smell of rotten eggs caused by a toxic gas that can be problematic for people with respiratory issues and was carrying Vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria. Scientists are encouraged by the decrease in sargassum and are closely monitoring

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