Aug 16, 2013

Swamp water follows the clouds

Has the dry season already begun?

I doubt it: But water levels have steadily dropped for the past month.

This chart shows weekly rainfall (blue) for Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve painted against the statistical backdrop of when the wet and dry season usually begin, and also shown relative to the mean (dotted line) and median (solid line) historic daily rainfall levels.  In particular, the median highlights the start (Memorial Day) and end (Columbus Day) of south Florida's meteorological rainy season.

Part of that's because the rain's slowed down.

But the big picture is that the swamp is still wet.

This hydrograph shows current water stage in Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve in ecological terms, i.e. relative to the elevation of the cypress, marl prairie and pine land mosaic.  The swamp was fast fill up out of the gate this year (flooding the marl prairies as early as May) but more recently has slightly dropped down.  Traditionally, water levels in the swamp peak in September.

According to the hydrograph above, current swamp-wide water stage matches our long-term normal, i.e. past 25 years, for mid August. Ecologically, that puts our wetting front lapping at the shores of our pine islands, a good half foot deep in our marl prairies and a good foot or two in our tall cypress and pond apple swamp. This is also the time of year the tropics become more active, so I wouldn't expect a dropping trend to continue for long.

The swamp still has a good two months meteorologic wet season left.

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