Mar 27, 2020

Rain machine "waiting game"

Typically it isn't until Memorial Day ...

That the summer wet season rains reliably start.

Chart showing where we are now
and when we can expect the reliable
summer rains to start

That doesn't mean we may not get some rains here and there,

And who knows, maybe even a good few consecutive days.

But more than likely reliable rain is a good 6-8 weeks away.

Mar 26, 2020

Old hydrology riddle

Why did the hydrologist cross the road?

Answer: To look at the canal on the other side.

Tamiami Trail, looking West

Tamiami Canal at the same spot
The verdict:

Canal stage is very low.

During the summer, the craggy limestone bank is completely submerged.

Mar 25, 2020

Farther in the interior

Hard to believe, but true:

The photos below were taken at the same spot.

As seen in the center
of a cypress dome

Reliably submerged for most of the year,

The roots of the pond apple trees get exposed during dry springs.

Mar 24, 2020

Stubborn seasons

Not only does Florida have a milder winter,

Come springtime, it also heats up first.

Comparison of day and night
air temperatures up and down
the east coast

Compare that to further up the east coast ...

Where Bostonians are still hunkered down in winter mode.

Sometimes seasons are stubborn, but eventually give way.

Full-grown lubber

As seen crossing Loop
Road in August

Mar 23, 2020

Baby lubbers on loose

I was surprised that somebody else was surprised ...

That these black grasshopper were "so big."

Lubbers are rather docile
grasshoppers, and as far as I
can tell they don't chirp.

"Wait in a couple of months," I said.  "--They get ten times the size."

"And turn all yellow!"

Mar 20, 2020

"Marsh goes dry" milestone

You know its dry in the swamp ...

When the center of its cypress domes go dry.

Looking into the marshy center
of a cypress dome during spring
in Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve

But don't blame the trees.

The bigger culprit is the nearby canals.

That and a lack of winter/spring rain.

Spring "nose dive"

Don't blame it on the plants,

But their springtime transpiration is partly the cause.

March is the month that
the water table starts to nose dive.

As pretty as the green trees look.

They also consume a lot of water.

Currently, the water table is almost touching down at the swamp's typical low water mark.

The catch is that usually happens in mid May.

Last I looked at the calendar that's a full two months away.

Or in other words, it could be a deep (and long) spring drought.

Mar 17, 2020

Right water, wrong place

Despite appearances ...

This is not a photo of a canal.

Domes are stoic,
but trust me: it's crying
on the inside

Rather it's a photo of  a cypress dome.

The only problem is the water is in the wrong place.

The dome is completely dry and the canal is full!

History of water

It's official:

The swamp has gone dry.

The water table has now dropped ...

Below the marshy centers of the swamp's low lying cypress domes.

Alligator holes are still holding water, for now.

Mar 16, 2020

"Lush" drought?

The spring green out ...

Almost makes the swamp look lush.

Looking into the center
of a cypress dome somewhere
in Mullet Slough

But don't be fooled:

The spring dry season is in full swing.

The wetting front has retreated to the deepest gator holes.

And without rain soon even they'll start to dry up.

Mar 14, 2020

How to: Divine water flow

You don't need a fancy model ...

To see which way the water flows.

The water follows
the plants, and vice

In fact you don't even need water.

All you have to do is look at the plants.

The native flora will tell you every time.