The famous beaches of Australia’s Gold Coast were almost invisible in places for a second day on Tuesday due to massive amounts of thick sea foam. The foam is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but has appeared in greater quantities than usual during a new onslaught of extreme weather in the country.
Some children and families went to beaches on the east coast of Australia to watch the unusual occurrence and even play in the bubbles.
The foam consists largely of decaying organic material and, according to experts, presents little danger.
“People are quite alarmed when they see sea foam. But sea foam is largely a protein that comes from the breakdown of organic matter in the oceans and that would be mostly plankton, algae, a little bit of mold, a little bit of bacteria and When broken down, it forms something similar to the surfactants or foaming agents that we see in soap, ”Professor Jodie Rummer of James Cook University told Reuters.
“In general, these naturally occurring sea foam events are not harmful and are part of a natural cycle.”
But while the foam itself may not be anything to worry about, it’s excited by the latest bout of extreme weather to hit Australia.
An intense low-pressure system has caused cyclonic conditions off the east coast in recent days with heavy rains, high winds and high seas engulfing entire beaches, including the main beach of the popular tourist town of Byron Bay.
It comes just weeks after nearby Fraser Island was evacuated due to wildfires, and scientists have attributed the erratic conditions to the impact of the La Nina weather pattern combined with the long-term effects of climate change.
“Well, what we have here is yet another event. An extreme weather event stemming from the climate change that our community is dealing with. It’s about the fourth or fifth major event in recent years,” said Simon Richardson. Mayor of Byron Shire, told Reuters.
“Right now we’re having rough weather around Byron, huge waves, we’re seeing our beach disappear.”