Seaweed in Cancun 2023
Cancun travelers are seriously concerned if Sargassum seaweed will ruin their spring or summer vacation.
The algae arrived early on Cancun beaches this year. But is not a large bothersome amount. Sargassum season usually begins in May and goes through October. Currently, there are many miles of this seaweed still floating in the Atlantic just waiting to make landfall.
2023 Sargassum Outlook
According to the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab report “Outlook of 2023 Sargassum blooms in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico dated March 31, 2023” they revealed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt contained an estimated 13 million tons of seaweed at the end of March this year. This is a new record amount for that time.
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt extends from west Africa to the Gulf of Mexico.
The recorded high quantity of Sargassum is mostly located in the central East Atlantic, not near Cancun. In the central West Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, Sargassum did not reach the historical record high for the month of March.
The University predicts that the total Sargassum quantity will continue to increase, and the Sargassum located in the east Caribbean now will migrate westward and be transported to the Gulf of Mexico impacting Florida.
In June of 2018 the Sargassum algae reached its largest extent on record, forming a giant brown belt that existed for over 8,850 kilometers from the west coast of Africa into the Gulf of Mexico. At least 20 million metric tons of Sargassum floated through the belt, this was the largest bloom of seaweed ever detected.
This year’s Sargassum bloom will most likely not be the largest ever recorded. Fortunately, the peak month of Sargassum abundance will not be until June.
Meanwhile, daily updates with near real-time imagery can be found under the Sargassum Watch System (SaWS, https://optics.marine.usf.edu/projects/saws.html).
You can also monitor the Cancun beach on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/RedSargazo/