Flood and Drought
And how they co-exist in time and space

Usually we like to think …

Of flood and drought as polar opposites.

See more cheatsheets

But in the wildlands of south Florida, the two coexist side by side, at the same time. Rarely, although sometimes, one goes away completely, but never for too long. Take the case of the drought season in the Big Cypress. If you’re a pine tree on a sandy mesic flat, the land around your trunk is reliably dry from December into June. Compare that to the deeper center of the domes that hold moisture into March, even April, before finally and usually drying up for a multi-week period in April and May. As for where the water table is in Big Cypress National Preserve now: Peat soils are still moist (yellow color code), but increasingly surface water is starting to disappear. It isn’t until the water table drops into the (orange and red zone) that drought fully tightens its grip on the swamp

Compare that to Everglades National Park next door. Its sloughs are still flooded with over a foot of water. For those who dare to dive into a chart, the cheatsheet above provides a comprehensive overview of the synergistic and ever shifting state of flood and drought in the Big Cypress and Everglades Ecosystems. Enjoy!

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