Gower, J; Young, E; King, S (2013). Satellite images suggest a new Sargassum source region in 2011. REMOTE SENSING LETTERS, 4(8), 764-773.
In the summer of 2011, a major Sargassum event' brought large amounts of seaweed onto the beaches of the islands of the eastern Caribbean with significant effects on local tourism. We present satellite observations showing that the event had its origin north of the mouth of the Amazon in an area not previously associated with Sargassum growth. A significant concentration of Sargassum was detected in April, when it was centred at about 7 degrees N latitude and 45 degrees W longitude. By July it had spread to the coast of Africa in the east and to the Lesser Antilles and the Caribbean in the west. We have previously used images from MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) and MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) to show the value of satellite observations in tracking patterns of Sargassum. For the years 2003-2010, we were able to determine the seasonal distribution over the range of 20 degrees-40 degrees N latitude and 100 degrees-40 degrees W longitude covering the Sargasso Sea' region of the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2011, satellite data showed a large shift in the distribution, whose cause is unclear.