Among the unpleasant things that can ruin a beach day are the sargassum mats that accumulate on some beaches. These mats have serious repercussions on tourism, fishing and health of the citizen.
“The sargassum is an algae that, under the effects of global warming and the spills of fertilizers from intensive agriculture, proliferates more and more in our seas and oceans. This year is the year with the highest sargassum since 2018”, Explains Anna Salsac Jiménez, in charge of scientific communications at CLS.
CLS is a global company that proposes space solutions to understand, protect the planet and manage its resources in a lasting way “.
Sargasso on Delfines beach, in Cancun. Photo: Xinhua
“Sargasso mats have serious repercussions on tourism, fishing and the health of citizens. Coastal regions deeply affected by mass strandings have seen the annual cost of cleaning beaches skyrocket, “he says.
And he adds: “The restoration of the Caribbean beaches has been estimated at the incredible figure of 120 million dollars a year. More and more fishermen are immobilized on the pier, whose propellers get tangled in these algae that infest fishing ports. The health of citizens is also threatened. The fumes from the decomposing Sargasso algae release gases that are a source of poisoning ”.
Worrying situation in the Caribbean
“We are currently in full season of stranding. Our experts in Earth observation and space oceanography have put the affected areas under high-level satellite surveillance. “
Large saturation of sargassum on a beach in Miami Beach. Photo: EFE
“The situation is worrying. In fact, we have the same alert level as in 2018, a year in which the sargassum beds were massive and had caused impressive strandings, “says Marion Sutton, oceanographer at CLS, a subsidiary of the space agency. French.
“As you can see in one of the images of our sargassum detection and forecasting software, the caribbean is surrounded and sargassum beds are ubiquitous. They can extend for several tens of kilometers. “
This result is obtained “thanks to the development of an operational capacity to detect and forecast sargassum drift, we provide strategic information to local actors from space: maps of the presence of algae and drift forecast based on the use of radar and optical satellite sensors, ”adds Sutton.
Great sargassum saturation in Miami Beach. Photo: EFE
“Surveillance, several hundred kilometers high, can cover the general state of sargasso rugs throughout the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the African coast. “
Information within everyone’s reach
By typing in any search engine Samtool and Sargasso local actors, citizens and tourists who need a postcard destination can now check the evolution of these banks online ”, says Anna Salsac Jiménez, head of scientific communications at CLS.
“This reliable satellite solution was developed with the support of the European Space Agency and chosen by Météo-France, the meteorological forecasting institute in 2019 on behalf of the French government, whose confidence in this solution was renewed this year,” concludes Salsac Jiménez.
By Silvia Celi, RFI