Monthly maps of Sargassum density in the tropical Atlantic from March 2022 to March 2023. At the start of the animation, small patches of Sargassum are scattered across the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the tropical Atlantic. As the season moves toward summer, the density increases, and the belt shifts northward, allowing more seaweed to spread into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The amount of Sargassum declines over fall and winter. The amount present in March 2023 in the eastern tropical Atlantic was much larger than usual. Animation by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data provided by the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Laboratory.