When it rains, sargassum pours!
And it is quite shocking!
Every year the same… But every year more intense!
Quite shocking! – #SargassumSeaweed, as far as the eyes can see, in the NE waters of #Antigua. I understand that there are similar scenes across other #EC Islands. When it rains, it pours – #COVID, #LIAT #Drought, #SargassumSeaweed, #SaharanDust, #Heat, #HurricaneSeason pic.twitter.com/0d3Xx5HQrL— 268Weather (@268Weather) July 12, 2020
In the Caribbean, sargassum deposits have grown to unprecedented sizes, obscuring the sand and turning nearshore waters into seething sargassum soup.
Pray for Fitches Creek 😩🙃 pic.twitter.com/xmZrQo0auM— Chief Caribbean Officer 🇦🇬 (@yendijackson) July 12, 2020
The brown seaweed grows in the ocean and piles up on beaches in unprecedented quantities throughout the Caribbean, where it begins to rot, attracting insects and repelling tourists.
Sometimes, it is so abundant that the algae prevents fishers from getting into the water, entangling their nets and propellers.
Sargassum is also bad for fauna and flora: Sea turtles and dolphins cannot surface for air, coral reefs have no sun light to thrive.
Sargassum algae only started becoming a real problem after 2010. And thus, the true origin of these mass invasions, and their cumulative impacts are not fully known. Yes, much of the story of this new phenomenon remains a mystery.
Sargassum researchers do appear confident in two things, though. The first is that these algal blooms constitute a new type of natural disaster that can be expected every single year. The second is that this new risk is not entirely natural. Humans have made these blooms far more likely (nutrients, agriculture, coastal pollution).
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