Aug 19, 2014

If staff gages could speak

For those of you that don't like hydrographs:

Here's a photo of the staff gage at Corkscrew annotated to shows today's level relative to July 1st, recent wet season peaks (2012 and 13) and the record high water mark in October 1995.

The photo by the way was taken in March.

Aug 18, 2014

High and dry

When you mention "swamp" in Naples,

It's often Corkscrew, not The Big Cypress, that comes to mind.

The above hydrograph provides a water level summary for Corkscrew Swamp.  Water levels are currently in the light blue zone which means that the higher perched hydric pines are wet. When that happens it corresponds to about a 2 ft depth in the pond apple and as much to 3-5 ft deep in the lettuce lakes.

Water is back up under the boardwalk:

The water line has climbed over 3.5 feet since the start of June.

But not high enough to get your feet wet.

(You'll have to come out to Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve for that.)

Aug 15, 2014

Hot mush of marl sun

A few steps out of the dome
it was shallower, sunny
and warm

Inside the dome (looking out)

This dome was knee deep in its center
(and shady) compared to ankle deep 
sunny) in the marl prairie straight ahead

Rain cloud ho!

Last week we had a Big Rain Day,

That bumped the swamp to its highest point of the summer (so far.)

Except for a few isolated pop up showers (as seen here at 2 pm on Tuesday), fair weather clouds have ruled the sky in recent days.

Since then isolated pop up showers have moved in.

The water line on the cypress is millimetering down as a result.

The graph above shows the running weekly rainfall total for Big Cypress National Preserve.  The blue curve shows a summation of the previous seven days of rainfall in inches.  The solid black line shows the long-term median running seven day rain total. Any time the blue line rises above the black line corresponds to rainy than normal conditions.  Below it just the opposite.  Can you see the spike in rainfall in early August?  

But don't be alarmed:

The rainy reprieve is just our typical mid summer lull.

The rainy season has two months left and more regional rain storms up its sleeve.

Aug 14, 2014

How To: Fill a Strand

I've been baffled by this for years:

How each summer do the strands fill up?

A spot rain here, a spot rain there
(plus a Big Rain Day) adds up,

As seen over Gator Hook
Strand looking north

I caught this cloud in the act.

Aug 13, 2014

Mid summer lull?

The wet season usually starts and ends fast,

But in the middle we see a lull.

The bar chart above breaks down south Florida's wet seasons from 1998 to present into three parts: (1) the start (Memorial Day to July 4th, (2) the middle (July 4th to Labor Day) and (3) the end (Labor Day to Halloween).  This year's middle has been making up lost ground for a below average start.

Not this year.  The middle (yellow) is making up ground for a slow start (green). The final third of the wet season (blue) doesn't start until Labor Day. September and October are south Florida's most tropical storm active months.

Aug 12, 2014

Low ground gets deeper

This pond apple forest, located in the center
of a cypress dome, was two feet deep
a week ago

High ground goes under

Water creeps up into the hydric pines

Aug 11, 2014

Shallowly submerged

You know its wet in the swamp ...

When the pinelands are shallowly submerged.

The hydrograph above shows water depth for Big Cypress National Preserve. The dark blue line shows current stage, from 2012 to present.  The horizontal color coding shows the level that various habitat types become flooded.  The dotted white line shows the long-term average as computed from 1993 to present.

That means the center of the cypress domes are a good 2 feet deep.  Water levels usually peak in the month of September, but not always.  Last year's peak occurred in July.  The year before in October.  My guess for this year is that we haven't peaked yet.

Aug 7, 2014

Liquid heart of the swamp

If you walk far enough into a deep dome,

the cypress trees suddenly disappear.

August 2014
That's a sure sign you've entered the pond apple heart of the swamp.

Aug 5, 2014

Welcome home present?

We haven't had one all summer,

Until finally, on August 4th it appeared.

The chart above shows a calendar of the daily distribution of rainfall across south Florida.  Orange dots indicate days when it didn't rain anywhere in south Florida.  Light blue circles show days when greater than 0.2 inches of rain fell across south Florida.  The big rain drops show the Big Rain Days.  They are the big rain events in which over an inch of rain on average fell across the south peninsula.  We had one of those - our first of the summer (and second of the year) - on Tuesday.

And perfect timing, too.  Glad I was here to see it!