Friday, August 12, 2011

Wider Sargasso Sea

Aug 11, 2011 update from Erika Young and Jim Gower of Fisheries & Ocean Canada (Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS): 'Floating vegetation slicks, probably of this same Sargassum in rafts at sea, were imaged by MERIS throughout July, 2011. Figure 1 [left] shows long sinuous slicks to the northeast of Barbados on July 14, 25 and 30, 2011. Comparison of the lower two frames of Figure 1, for July 25 and 30, suggests that a heavy mass of Sargassum should arrive on the north-east coast of Barbados by about August 10. The bottom frame also suggests that more Sargassum may be about to arrive on Dominica and Martinique' [and Saint Lucia].

Have a look at the bottom frame from 30 July 2011 in Google Earth - Sargassum slicks can be seen in the Caribbean Sea, particularly near Dominica. A major slick of Sargassum was then approaching in the Atlantic approximately 30km from Barbados and Martinique and about 70km from Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia had already reported heavy slicks on their beaches in mid July 2011, so the MERIS imagery analysed by IOS (i) might not be picking up "smaller" slicks due to its resolution and (ii) it seems that Saint Lucia and the rest of the Lesser Antilles can expect much heavier Sargassum slicks this month.

3 comments:

AdventureAntigua.com said...

"it seems that Saint Lucia and the rest of the Lesser Antilles can expect much heavier Sargassum slicks this month."

Heavier than we have now? Wow, i hope this is not the case.

Vijay said...

The logic being that a large slick was detected by IOS 70km offshore on July 30 using MERIS imagery. At that time there were already large amounts of Sargassum washing up on Saint Lucia's shores - but apparently undetected then by MERIS, probably because of the resolution of the MERIS sensor. So it seems that the Sargussum detected 70km offshore and drifting your way is in larger, wider mats, that can be "seen" by MERIS, than what's on your shores now.

Anonymous said...

The US Virgins, particulary St. Croix is inundated with the same seaweed...