Mar 29, 2015

Month of drying

The two photos below were shot ...

At the same spot about four weeks apart.

The pond apple tree in the middle of the top photo is the same as the one on the right (with roots exposed) on the bottom photo

As you can see it is drying out.

Mar 28, 2015


As seen looking downstream
March 26, 2015

Mar 27, 2015

Cold air returns!

Spring has returned to the swamp ...

But don't mistaken that to mean cold fronts are done!

This chart displays the high and low daily air temperatures recorded at Naples Airport from September 2014 to present.  The white and gray color coding in the background show the long-term average and record daily high and low temperatures.  The red bars show this weekends forecast.

Perfectly timed we have one forecast for this weekend.

Can you see the last dip in air temperature was over a month ago?

That was our coldest day of the winter.

This one will just feel nice.

Not to worry -- we still get cold fronts in April, too!

Five Miles to Monroe Station

From Sweetwater

Mar 24, 2015

Mar 22, 2015

Swamp wishes

How could such dream-inspiring seeds ...

Originate from such a nasty plant.

Cirsium horridulum

My wish was to avoid skin irritation from the plant's spines.

Mar 19, 2015

History of fire (and flooding)

Its flat surface and seasonal rains ...

makes the swamp susceptible to both flood and drought. 

This map shows a flooding and fire frequency in Big Cypress National Preserve.  The image of fire was adapted from a recent USGS Report on the History of Fire in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve by Smith et al, 2015 (view report).

Early fall is peak flooding season.

April and May are when deep drought strikes most.

This calendar chart shows a history of drought in Big Cypress National Preserve.  Major wildfires are annotated to the chart.  Can you see how wildfires coincide with peak drought season?  April and May may turn orange and red if timely spring rains do not arrive.

We are not in deep drought yet but getting there.

History of flooding

This chart shows a history of flooding for Big Cypress National Preserve from 1990 to present relative to major ecological thresholds.  Currently, the water's edge has receded into the center of the cypress domes.  That means that pretty much only the marsh and pond apple habitat are flooded with water.  This time last year the water's edge was a step higher at outer edges of the domes.

Mar 18, 2015

Big Lake Over the Decades

The above calendar chart shows fluctuation of water level in Lake Okeechobee from 1960 to present relevant to major ecological and operational thresholds.  Blue larger dots represent times of high water and smaller warm dots represent times of lower water.  The red line indicates deep drought.  We are currently at a normal level for mid March.

Okeechobee in the middle

The Lake has dropped about 1.5 feet from its fall peak.

And it's 1.5 feet from its annual average late spring low.

The above hydrograph displays Lake Okeechobee's water stage over the past two years relative to major ecological thresholds, key operational levels and historical stats (as calculated from 1993 to present).  The horizontal green layer in the middle represents the vertical elevation range of the Lake's interior marsh, also called the littoral zone.  The orange layer represents drought levels and the blue and purple high water conditions.
Or in other words,

Lake stage is average for this time of year.

Ecologically speaking the water's edge is at the upper reaches of the littoral zone.

Mar 16, 2015

Hoover's water storage blues

Lake Okeechobee is pretty high for this time of year.

But just 3 feet lower and we'd be talking drought.

This hydrograph shows the rise and fall of Lake Mead and Lake Okeechobee from 1970 to present.  The red and blue human figure puts the drop in the two water bodies to scale.
Compare that to Lake Mead.

It's dropped 125 feet over the past fifteen years.

It could rise 50 feet and it would still be a drought.