There’s a blob of seaweed so big it can be seen from space… and it’s headed for Florida. Spanning roughly 5,000 miles, which is about twice the width of the United States!
In open water, these giant mats of algae are mostly harmless and even have some benefits, including serving as a habitat for certain fish and crustaceans and absorbing carbon dioxide. But ocean currents are pushing sargassum west, causing hundreds of tons of seaweed to wash up on beaches across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
There, it can choke corals, wreak havoc on coastal ecosystems and diminish water and air quality as it rots.
Scientists say this bloom is one of the largest on record, stoking fears that seaweed invasions of beaches in the coming weeks and months could be particularly severe.