A gigantic mass of ermine from the Atlantic Ocean is heading towards Florida. Blooms of these brown algae not only spoil American vacation plans, but can also be dangerous to health and the environment. A red tide appeared on the west coast of the peninsula.
This year may turn out to be record-breaking in terms of ermine blooms. Algae floating in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are slowly being pushed by sea currents towards the United States, Mexico and islands in the Caribbean.
As satellite images show, the kelp bloom now extends over an area more than 8,000 kilometers wide and weighing six million tons. Giant patches of algae are drifting towards Mexico, Martinique and elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The first algae are also approaching Florida.
As Chuanmin Hu of the University of South Florida told CNN, the bloom could increase to as much as 20 million tons in June this year.
– There’s no way to stop it. This is nature. You can’t stop a hurricane either,” he said.
The seaweeds are not toxic, and in the ocean they perform important ecological functions – it is among them that young fish find shelter. The problems begin when the algae are washed up on the beach. There they die, emitting an unpleasant smell that scares away tourists and can cause respiratory diseases.
Florida’s West Coast has a different problem. Dinoflagellates – tiny, highly toxic algae – appeared in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This phenomenon is known as the “red tide” and causes the death of thousands of fish. Dead animals are thrown ashore, where they begin to decompose, emitting an unpleasant odor.
Red tide is also dangerous to health. The wind can carry toxins released by algae to shore, which cause health problems in humans: coughing, irritation of the throat and mucous membranes, as well as difficulty breathing.
“These two problems could become one bigger problem,” said Mike Parsons of the University of Florida Gulf Coast.
CNN, CBS News, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: ENEX