Pat Shingleton: "Good Foam, Bad Foam..."
Coastal homes in the northeast are coated with ice from Tuesday's monster storm. Sea water contains dissolved salts, proteins, fats, and dead algae and is laced with organic matter and sea creature excrement. Shaking seawater in a beaker causes surface bubbles and foam. This is replicated when the ocean is agitated from wind and waves. Each coast manufactures its foam in different ways and algae blooms create thick sea foams, similar to shaving cream. This may occur this weekend in New England. When the blooms decay offshore the algal matter is churned by the surf. As noted in a previous column, most sea foam is safe, however, on the Gulf Coast, blooms of Karenia brevis create aersol toxins that irritates eyes with respiratory afflictions.