Dec 8, 2019

Hilly swamp?

What look like hills ...

Are actually depressional bowls.

Somewhere in Mullet Slough

And the slightly-recessed green spots:

That's actually a high-ground pine island.

And yes that's the view for as far as the eye can see!

Dec 6, 2019

Hydrology strikes twice

No, lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place,

But sometimes hydrology does.

The blue and red lines show
a comparison of this year's
to last year's surface water
stage in the swamp

Take for example the early December height of the water table.

It's at an all-time December low, looking back as far as our records go.

Historical calendar showing the location
of the wetting front relative to major ecological
habitats in the swamp, 1991 to present.

Even more incredible still:

It matches the same record December low from last year.

Talk about hydrology striking twice in a row!

Dec 5, 2019

Why the dry (and wet) season is wrong

At first glance, a wet and dry season would seem to imply ...

That the swamp has just two states.

Hydrographs are helpful, but there is nothing
like the advanced cornbread model (shown above)
to really make the water cycle click
In place of these two opposing states,

Is actually an dynamic shift between varying degrees of wetness and dryness.

For example, we are currently in the part of the dry season that should be wet but is actually drier than usual thanks to the preceding wet season ending on a dry note.

(For further clarification see the chart above.)

Dec 4, 2019

Evergreen effect

During the winter,

The slash pine really jump out.

Scenic swamp mosaic
Or do I mean the cypress?

Actually, both!

Dec 3, 2019

Winter rains are unreliable

Last dry season,

Looked like a sure-fire deep spring drought.

The chart above shows monthly rainfall
in Big Cypress National Preserve relative
to the historical record.

Then we got a very rainy January (see chart above).

Could a similar rainy month save the swamp again this year?

As usual, only time will tell.

Nov 21, 2019

Big rain day effect

The thing about Big Rain Days (BRDs):

We both can't count on them, but depend on them at the same time.

Historical calendar chart
of Big Rain Days (BRDs)
from 1991 to present.

ake for example last January's consecutive BRDs:

It rescued the swamp from a near certain spring drought.

A Big Rain Day (BRD) is any day
that all of south Florida averages
an inch or more of rain. 

South Florida usually receives five BRDs per year.

This year (like last year) we are stuck on a subpar three.

So goes BRDs, so goes the swamp.

Here's to hoping we get a BRD soon!

Nov 20, 2019

Easy on the eye

The swamp mosaic really pops out ...

After the cypress needles turn brown and fall.

The swamp is a labyrinth
of Liliputian hills and shallow
Meanwhile the slash pine stay green all year round.

Nov 19, 2019

No(vember) rain

Normally we can count on ...

About 43 inches of wet season rain.

A look at wet season rain totals
in Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve
over the years

By wet season, I mean the six-month span from May through October.

Compare that to the dry season half where the average is only twelve.

The only good news is with the cooler temperatures ...

Evapotranspiration is finally starting to slow down.

Nov 13, 2019

Signs of fall

Signs of fall in the swamp are subtle,

But they are there if you know where to look.

The cypress-pine
swamp mosaic really
starts to "pop"

Dwarf cypress prairie
become needle bare indicating
less daylight hours

Resurrection fern shrinks
to shriveled state indicating
less rain

Cold water seeps into boots
indicating lower air temperatures

(Okay, I'll admit ... this one not yet)

Can you think of others?

Getting the water right

Getting the water right ...

Isn't about just getting the water right.

Water is a universal salve
for the swamp

It's about all the other things that get right ...

When we get the water right.

Give a swamp clean water and it does beautiful things.