SARGASSUM BLOB APPROACHING FLORIDA, THE CARIBBEAN AND MEXICO IS ASTONISHINGLY HUGE
Have you ever heard of the Sargasso Sea? It’s a sea that doesn’t have any defined border or fixed location. But it is always in the Atlantic Ocean, between the coasts of West Africa and the Caribbean. It’s a totally random area that has a series of clumps of brown, intertwined algae, or sargassum seaweed. Its only border is whatever area these clumps occupy, depending on how 4 different ocean currents pen it in. It’s normal, and creates critical habitat to marine life and is actually a very important part of the ecosystem. But in recent years, these clumps have become so many that they merge into a giant blob. This year, it’s astonishingly huge and is heading to Florida.
THIS YEAR’S SARGASSUM BLOB MEASURES ABOUT 5,000 MILES WIDE IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN
And by astonishingly huge, I’m not doing this thing justice. This year’s sargassum blob weighs about 13 million tons, and the algae spans roughly 5,000 miles of ocean from east to west. For scale, that’s nearly twice as wide as the continental United States! And this blob is only going to get larger, as this seaweed mass usually hits its peak manifestation sometime in June or July. And this is going to be a problem, as it’s already starting to wash ashore across the region, including Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico. But nothing like what’s coming.
WHEN THE BLOB HITS SHORE, IT WILL STINK LIKE ROTTEN EGGS AND CAN CAUSE HEALTH ISSUES
So why is this sargassum blob such a problem? In large scale, it literally mucks everything up. And its never been this scale ever before. When it hits on beaches, it decomposes and releases a rotten egg smell that would make the devil blush. But besides the stink, this hydrogen sulfide gas can cause respiratory irritation, digestive issues, and neurological problems for people nearby. That could be a problem for tourism, to say the least. And removing it can be expensive. Last year, Miami-Dade County spent $3.9 million on clean-up, a 1.1 million increase from the year before.
Stay tuned, as this sargassum blob is on its way, and it will truly stink up the place.