Sep 21, 2014

Stormy sky (calm gulf)

It's normally sunny to the west ...

In the afternoon on Naples Beach.

Still got a swim in

Not on this day.

Sep 20, 2014


I have no idea who built
these sand structures or why

Sep 19, 2014

Polluter's penance

It was my second summer working construction.

We were driving between job sites on Route 83, probably the most scenic stretch of highway in the Lower 48. (Yes, I am biased.) Dom was driving, Chad was in the middle and me on passenger window end. What possessed me to do it I will never know. I think I was trying to keep my lunch box clean. Maybe it the sugar rush from the Oatmeal Creamie pie. Whatever the reason, and to this day I am still perplexed why, I cracked open the window and let the clear plastic wrapper fly out in the wind.

Litter, or historical artifact?

It wasn't two moments later when Chad turned in accusation.

"You just threw that wrapper out the window!"

"No I didn't," I responded.

"You did. I saw you do it."

Dom looked over and chimed in. "You're kidding?"

Years later on Cape Cod another friend Ben put some empty cans we'd drunk on the golf course in the back of his truck which, out on Highway Route 6, flew out of the bed.

As bad as he felt he didn't let it bring him down.

"I just picked up ten times as many cans from the side of another road to make up for it.  You know, as penance," he later explained.

Don't see many pull-tabs anymore.

That made sense.

Except for one problem.

Oatmeal Creamie pie wrappers are really hard to find.

The end is near!

September is shaping up as the rainiest month of the wet season,

But the end of the wet season is less than two weeks away.

This bar chart shows daily rainfall totals for this current year (red) compared to the long-term daily median (blue) as calculated from 1998 to 2013 for Big Cypress National Preserve.

By wet season I mean meteorological.

Even when the daily rains stop the ground will stay wet for months to come.

And by wet season I also mean the daily peninsular shower machine.

Chance side swipes from tropical systems often boost the water table in October.

Usually always by November the water table is usually on its way down.

Sep 18, 2014

Like clockwork

Afternoon storms
are on a roll, but how long
can they last?

Sep 17, 2014

Remember when?

Here's a look at Lake O's stage now
compared to previous years

Sep 16, 2014

Lake spares estuaries (this time)

The Lake rose close to 16 ft the past two years,

This year it has stalled in the desired range.

his hydrograph shows the the rise and fall of Lake levels over the past two years in comparison to the long-term range (from 1993 to present) and major ecological thresholds.  The dotted white line shows the long-term median.  Current stage is about a half foot below the long-term average for mid September.

That's been good news for the estuaries.

Sep 15, 2014

Sep 12, 2014

Low-water summer?

It's wet in the swamp to be sure,

But not "water in the pines" mid September like we'd normally expect.

The calendar chart above displays the history of surface water flooding in Big Cypress National Preserve from 1991 to present. It reads like a page of a book -- years from top to bottom and months from left to right. Cooler colors (light and dark blue) indicate times when the water table is at its peak and warmer colors show when the water table is dropping down into the cypress and below ground. The driest times are shown by no colors at all -- they are the spaces on the calendar chart in spring when deep drought strikes. Can you see on this summer's line of data (so far) that the pines have yet to get wet?

It's too early to jump to conclusions yet.  We have a couple days of high rain probability forecast as I type.  Looking back in the historic record, the calendar years of 2007 and 2010 had notably lower-than-normal wet seasons.  Those years didn't get their pines wet and -- not coincidentally -- each was followed by an early onset of dry season drought.  Spring of 2008 was saved by a mammoth deluge in early February, but Spring 2011 had no such luck: deep drought took hold for over three straight months.

I'm holding out hope this recent rain pops us up in the pines.

Keep you fingers crossed!

Sep 11, 2014

Still climbing?

How do things compare now to previous years?

Closer to similar than different (for now.)

The hydrograph above compares the most recent water year (i.e. WY2015 runs from May 2014 to Apr 2015) to the historic range and median (as calculated from 1992 to present) and a few years of note.  Actually, there were some other years of note but you can only include so many lines on a graph before it gets cluttered.

It isn't until the rainy season ends that we start to see major differences from one water year to the next. That has a lot to do with how long meteorological wet season conditions persist and if we get any late season tropical downpours.  Absent those, the water table starts to descend pretty quick (i.e. the "red coded" 2011 water year above.)

Sometimes that descent starts in September, other times not until as late as November.

Rolling domes

Mullet Slough
in late summer