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Seasonal Sargassum seaweed causing mess at beach

Seaweed washes ashore
Seaweed washes ashore 01:09

MIAMI - It's that time of year again. It's summertime, the ocean water is warm enough for people in South Florida to go in, and large amounts of seaweed are washing ashore.

While most people think it's an icky mess to deal with, it does have environmental benefits.

The brown seaweed, or Sargassum, thrives in ocean waters and is a habitat for marine life like crabs, shrimp, and tuna.

However, once on shore it begins decomposing and develops a nasty smell. Also, the tiny sea creatures that live inside the seaweed can irritate a person's skin.

How does it end up on the beach?

With a persistent onshore flow, winds across South Florida are out of the east and that wind direction helps to drive seaweed against the coast.

An anticipated wind shift out of the southwest could help to push some of it out to water later in the week.

How much of it can make it to shore?

Several factors contribute to more seaweed blooms including warmer temperatures, nitrogen emissions, and Saharan dust.

Saharan Dust can contain a mixture of iron, nitrogen, and phosphorous that can fuel seaweed blooms.

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