Answer: At the start of this spring the pond apple are still wet.
|Pond apple forests are still flooded,|
this time last year they were dry
That's easily shown in the hydrograph above.
It reports water depth in the swamp relative to the pond apple forest floor. Can you see that the current depth of water in the pond apple is around 9 inches deep? Now compare that to the same time last year, i.e. March 2011, when the same pond apple forest was completely dry. BTW: dry pond apple forests are one of the swamp's more harrowing scenes. And not because the exposed roots are spooky (which they are) but because exposing peat soils to air can lead to their loss.
The swamp needs to hold on to its peat.
That's why it was good to get some much needed dry season rain last week. Preserve-wide, water stage increased about 3 inches in height. That puts the water line back up into the normal range, i.e. the dotted white line is the 20-year median, for mid March. We could still drop into drought if rainless conditions take hold, but it's unlikely we'll drop as low as last year's extreme drought.
|El Niño and La Niña play a big role|
in south Florida's meteorologic dry season
Sometimes the pond apple hold water all year round.
But that usually happens during an El Niño, not a La Niña we're in now.
Actually, La Niña gave us the warm winter, too, but as of April it's expected to fade.
That could mean a less busy hurricane season.