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Sargassum blooms in the Caribbean Sea - Outlook Bulletin, May 2019

In May 2019, the following regions continued to experience large amounts of Sargassum: Central West Atlantic (CWA), entire Caribbean Sea (CS), eastern Gulf of Mexico, northern Florida Straits, and waters off east coast of Florida. In addition to numerous reports of Sargassum beaching in the Caribbean, beaching events have also been reported along the southeast coast of Florida. In the CS, the amounts of Sargassum are comparable to the historical record in 2018 for the same month.

Looking ahead, because the amount of Sargassum in the CWA in May 2019 is lower than in May 2018, the amount of Sargassum transported from the CWA to the CS (i.e., “new” Sargassum to the CS) during June – July 2019 may be lower than in June - July 2018. However, this transport will still be higher than most of the previous “Sargassum years” during the same month. Furthermore, because of the local growth and already large amount in the CS, the amount in the CS in June – July 2019 will continue to be high. Meanwhile, the transport to the Gulf of Mexico and east coast of Florida will continue, meaning that beaching events along the east coast of Florida will also continue. The exact Sargassum amount, timing, and location of the beaching will depend on local ocean circulations and winds.