Jul 27, 2011

Only hope now is a "perfect storm!"

We know that rainfall affects development:
A large part of water management is based on flood control …

But can vice versa too much development also affect the rain?

Southwest coast has been rainy:
Click on map to see a rain chart for your area
Martin St Lucie rain HISTORYCoastal Palm Beach rain HISTORYWCA1&2 rain HISTORYCoastal Broward rain HISTORYMiami-Dade rain HISTORYUpper Kissimmee rain HISTORYLower Kissimmee rain HISTORYLake O rain HISTORYEAA rain HISTORY
WCA3 rain HISTORYEast Caloosahatchee rain HISTORYWest EAA rain HISTORYBig Cypress Nat'l Preserve rain HISTORYSouthwest Coast rain HISTORYSFWMD-wide rain HISTORYMartin St Lucie rain chartCoastal Palm Beach rain chartWCA1&2 rain chartCoastal Broward rain chartMiami-Dade rain chartUpper Kissimmee rain chartLower Kissimmee rain chartLake O rain chartEAA rain chartWCA3 rain chartEast Caloosahatchee rain chartWest EAA rain chartBig Cypress Nat'l Preserve rain chartSouthwest Coast rain chartSFWMD-wide rain chart
While we can’t point to an particular acre per se,

It is my understanding that urbanization in particularly on east coast and agricultural conversion of wetlands to dry ground has robbed Florida’s famed wet season clouds of one of their primary sources of fuel. Also factoring in is our warming climate which scientists have suggested will give us wetter winters but also shorten the duration of our wet season which, in sum, will result in a net loss.

Then enter canals and levees:

They drain water out to sea (fast!) and also constrain the foot print water can spread out on. That’s resulted in many sloughs and strands becoming disconnected from their upstream ‘slow-drip” sources, and turned coastal estuaries into sacrificial dumping grounds where the big rain weeks and months short circuit through before getting lost to sea. Restoration lies in finding ways to hold back the water from the coast (a technical term hydrologists call “inland storage”), and saving it so it can be soaked in and slow dripped south.

Levees and canals as seen near Forty Mile Bend, looking northeast

The end result is a warped sense of the weather.

We hope beyond hope for the perfect storm (i.e., monthly, seasonal, and yearly rainfall) to somehow save the day and replenish our watersheds to the precise thresholds we divine.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Season lurks, or as Floridians like to say:

“We could use the rain, just not the wind.”

Here's some recent newspaper articles on the topic:

Water Storage Problematic for South Florida
Andy Reid, Sun Sentinel

Despite inland water shortfall, stormwater rushes out to sea ...
Chris Stapleton, Palm Beach Post


Janie said...

Interesting analysis of the effects of global warming and urban development on climate.
Yes, hurricanes would be a great solution to drought if only they didn't have those darn high winds!

Tabor said...

Florida has engineered itself into one heck of a problem...

walk2write said...

When I was a kid and we lived on Homestead AFB, my dad would take us fishing along the canals that crisscrossed the area. I think the base was closed after Hurricane Andrew, but whatever happened to the canals now that they're not needed to drain the area and collect runoff from all that concrete?