Monitoring pelagic Sargassum inundation potential for coastal communities

Joaquin Trinanes, N.F. Putman, G. Goni, C. Hu & M. Wang (2023) Monitoring pelagic Sargassum inundation potential for coastal communities, Journal of Operational Oceanography, 16:1, 48-59, DOI: 10.1080/1755876X.2021.1902682

Abstract: Pelagic Sargassum is a buoyant macroalgae that forms rafts at the ocean surface and serves as a biologically rich habitat for hundreds of diverse marine species. Since 2011, massive blooms of Sargassum have occurred in the tropical Atlantic and swept through the western tropical Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. These recurring annual events have caused significant disruptions to coastal communities throughout the region, negatively impacting human health, tourism, fishing, navigation, and nearshore ecosystems. We present here the Sargassum Inundation Report (SIR), a product that uses satellite-based methodology to estimate and predict the future coastal inundation of pelagic Sargassum. Results from one year of SIRs show strong spatiotemporal differences in the potential of coastal inundation across the Intra-American Seas, and provide a comprehensive method for assessing its geographic distribution and temporal variation…

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