Apr 15, 2014

Dry as "chips and salsa"

Drought has descended on the swamp.

Pools have receded to the point that even the lowest spots are dry.

The chart above shows drought levels in the Big Cypress and various parts of the Everglades.  The black arrow shows current drought level, the dark gray arrow a month ago, the light gray arrow a year ago and the dotted red line the long-term average for today.  In general, the Everglades -- with the exception of WCA2 -- remains soggier than the swamp.

This is what I like to call "chips and salsa" drought season. What was once (i.e. in the summer) soggy periphyton is now hardened and cracker thin -- not good for eating but crunchy in the marl prairie when you step. As you venture into the domes or strands -- the deep ones at least -- you will still find shallow pools of water in the deepest spots, but those bowls of salsa are vanishing fast. I had heard an El NiƱo was forming and could bring us some late wet season rain.

Even spot showers would help.

As dry as "chips and salsa" may appear, the presence of the water table close to the surface helps keep the peat in the low spots moist.  That can act as a fire break to a degree and also dampen the incursion of hot flames into those areas should a fire occur.

That's not the case with the popcorn drought level one step below.

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