Modeling and Forecasting Sargassum Movement in the Caribbean Sea

Julio Sheinbaum1, Homar Verdugo-Ortega2, Francisco J Beron-Vera3, Maria Josefina Olascoaga3 and Julien Jouanno4, (1)Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, Ensenada, BJ, Mexico, (2)Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, Physical Oceanography, Ensenada, BJ, Mexico, (3)University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States, (4)Observatory Midi-Pyrenees, Toulouse, France
The surface inertial particle dynamics developed by Beron-Vera et. al (Phys. Fluids 31, 096602 (2019); is used to model the movement of sargassum in the Caribbean Sea and the results compared to standard practices that only use ocean currents and a “windage” component. As expected, the new model better reproduces the observed eddy trapping of sargassum. The new equations are coded into the opendrift model (Dagestad et. al., Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 1405–1420, (2018) to build an operational system for analysis and prediction of sargassum movement using ocean current and wind fields from operational centers as well as positions of sargassum mats derived from satellite data and other sources.