GALVESTON — Robert Webster used a bit of rocket science, old-fashioned library research, buoys and boats to develop an early-warning system for beach invasions of thick seaweed.
The predictive model, with the acronym of SEAS — Sargassum Early Advisory System — debuted in January. Using satellite imagery along with sea and wind current data, SEAS provides about a one-week alert ahead of the beaching of mats of sargassum seaweed.
“We thought, if we could maybe forecast the landings, we could give coastal managers a little bit of advance notice when they’re going to have to deal with it,” said Webster, who grew up exploring seaweed on family camping expeditions on Galveston beaches.
The Texas A&M University at Galveston research assistant and doctoral student works with Tom Linton and W.M. von Zharen, and hopes to expand the predictive model to forecast a season ahead of the seaweed.
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