Everglades eve

One of the best things about being a hydrologist in south Florida is that it has a hyperactive water cycle:

  • Sixty inches of rain per year,
  • Forty inches of it in the 5 month wet season,
  • Prodigious amounts of evaporation,
  • Wetlands that go under as far as the eye can see each summer,
  • Followed by springtime descents into drought and wildfire threat.

The water cycle’s race around the calendar each year, year after year, is comparable to the storybook tale of The Tortoise and Hare.

The Hare (rainfall) sprints way ahead by summer’s end, only to be overtaken by the slow plodding Tortoise (evaporation) who never sleeps,

And this is no ordinary tortoise!

Florida’s ample sunshine and southerly reach (almost to the Tropic of Cancer) makes it the water cycle equivalent of a “thoroughbred race tortoise.”

Think of it as the “Celebrated Jumping Turtle of Collier County,” guaranteed to “out crawl” all other comers in the continental United States.

Just don’t challenge anyone to a race during the deepest weeks of winter:

That’s when the Tortoise joins the slumbering Hare with a short nap of its own.

The result?

South Florida’s fabled water cycle show all but slows to a stop.

No rain, little evaporation, no transpiration …

And perfect timing!

Just in time for the holidays.

So sweet dreams to both the Tortoise and Hare
on this mild and rainless Everglades eve,
and to both a good night.
With well wishes to everyone else out there, in watersheds both near and far, that you too find reason to slow down this holiday season with family and friends.

You can view more SkyWatch images from around the world at the SkyWatch site.

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