Carriers of Sargassum and mechanism for coastal inundation in the Caribbean Sea

F. Andrade-Canto, F. J. Beron-Vera, G. J. Goni, D. Karrasch, M. J. Olascoaga, J. Triñanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We identify effective carriers of Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea and describe a mechanism for coastal choking. Revealed from satellite altimetry, the carriers of Sargassum are mesoscale eddies (vortices of 50-km radius or larger) with coherent material (i.e., fluid) boundaries. These are observer-independent - unlike eddy boundaries identified with instantaneously closed streamlines of the altimetric sea-surface height field - and furthermore harbor finite-time attractors for networks of elastically connected finite-size buoyant or "inertial"particles dragged by ocean currents and winds, a mathematical abstraction of Sargassum rafts. The mechanism of coastal inundation, identified using a minimal model of surface-intensified Caribbean Sea eddies, is thermal instability in the presence of bottom topography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016602
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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