Sargassum is a type of brown seaweed that usually floods the Caribbean coast during the spring and summer months.
It typically remains until the fall months. The impact of Sargassum seaweed on the Caribbean Islands, including Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda, has been noticeable since 2011.
These Sargassum blooms are believed to originate off the coast of South America, and they have varying ecological and economic consequences for the region.
Currently, most of the remaining Sargassum can be found in the Caribbean Sea, with a narrower strip extending through the central Atlantic.
The University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab has been using satellite imagery to track this seaweed diligently.
Their research data shows that the overall quantity of Sargassum in the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, which spans from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, continues to diminish.
The Caribbean Sea now has less than 1 million tons of Sargassum, primarily concentrated in the eastern Caribbean.
Although the Sargassum season is gradually winding down, a noticeable presence of Sargassum still persists in the northeastern Caribbean, including countries like Antigua & Barbuda.
The Environmental Unit cautions that a change in wind direction could cause a sudden influx of Sargassum along these shorelines.
The movement of Sargassum is entirely dependent on wind patterns and ocean currents, making it challenging to predict.
Looking ahead, minimal Sargassum is expected for the rest of this month and November. The first signs of the 2024 Sargassum bloom may only become apparent in December.