- BBC News World
A large number of algae are approaching the Caribbean and Mexico.
about this Atlantic Sargassum BeltIt travels year-round from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, and has grown larger than ever.
This year it is approximately 8,800 kilometers long and weighs 10 million tons.
The mass of Sargassum is so large that the only way to see the entire belt is from space.
“Every year we see a flower It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, because it’s getting bigger.Brian Barnes from the University of South Florida (US) told the BBC.
According to the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of South Florida, sargassum is a “brown macroalgae” that floats on the surface of the ocean.
However, it’s not a “continuous mass,” Barnes explains. The smallest sarcasm patch seen in satellite images is the size of a football field, although the largest can reach up to 2.5 square kilometers.
According to the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network, in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, among other tourist destinations, only four of 80 beaches were free of sargassum this Thursday, although only 12 were “excessive” “amounts.
“We saw a Increase in size (sarcasm) in the first half of March. Most of the sarcasm layers still enter the Caribbean Sea from the east and move westward to reach the Mexican Yucatan coast. In general, some beaches in the Caribbean get alternating sargassum, but Not all beaches see this” explained Xuanmin Hu, a professor at the University of South Florida.
“That’s promising sargassum impactAnd The eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula (both Belize and Mexico) and the coasts of the Greater and Lesser Antilles.. The size and frequency of that sargassum buildup offshore is likely to increase in the coming months,” Barnes added.
Sargassum is an important habitat for marine life, but after 48 hours on shore, the algae begin to release toxins such as hydrogen sulfide, which, in small amounts, smells like rotten eggs.
Ecologically, Barnes said, sargassum can “crush sea turtle nests on beaches” and “release plumes of dissolved organic matter that can affect nearby ecosystems and their populations.”
Worse than the smell, high levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause headaches, eye irritation and stomach upset, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The exact cause of sarcasm development is still being studied.
Hu said seaweeds need “sufficient sunlight, warm water and sufficient nutrients from various sources” to grow rapidly. He added that the longitudinal belt is formed due to ocean currents and surface winds.
A contributing factor, Barnes noted, may be the Amazon basin, which has seen an increase in nitrogen that fertilizes sarcasm.
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