Massive blob of smelly seaweed headed for Florida beaches

Researchers are monitoring a record amount of smelly seaweed build up in the Atlantic – and they say most of it will likely end up on Florida beaches this summer.

Last July, Jetty Park was inundated with brown, smelly seaweed. 

"It stinks as it starts to decompose. It releases hydrogen sulfide," said Brian Barnes, research assistant professor at USF Optical Oceanography Lab.

It's bad for beachgoers and can be bad for the environment.

Throughout the year, the seaweed makes its way across the ocean.  USA Today reports the blob has reached 8.7 million tons – and it’s only getting bigger.

"We're really looking at, probably the biggest event we've ever seen," Barnes told FOX 35.

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He says the patch has doubled in size over the past couple of months. Barnes and his team have been studying possible causes for the increase, like changes to the environment and water circulation patterns. They're also working to more accurately predict where it will end up.

"Looking at the trends, our best guess is it's going to be a record year. The question is almost how much of a record it's going to be."

Tim Mahady, city of Boynton Beach Ocean Rescue chief, told USA Today: "Our beach could literally be clean at 8 a.m. and three to four hours later a giant mat of sargassum the size of a mall will come in like the blob, like a Stephen King movie."