United States

Here’s why waves form sea foam in stormy weather

When storms kick up normally tranquil seas, don’t be surprised if water resembles a frothy substance. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea foam forms when the organic and artificial matter in the ocean is agitated by wind and waves. Algal blooms are one common source of thick sea foams. When large blooms of algae decay offshore, great amounts of decaying algal matter often wash ashore. Sea foam then forms as that organic matter is churned up by the surf, according to NOAA. “Most sea foam is not harmful to humans and is often an indication of a productive ocean ecosystem,” according to the agency. “But when large harmful algal blooms decay near shore, there are potentials for impacts to human h ...