Cheatsheets

Welcome to our cheat sheets where we test the limit of how much data (and colors) we can cram into one page. Our goal: To let no drop of data go unused, and putting it in a format we can all drill down in to and wrap our heads around. | Beginner’s guide | Quick forecast | Drought outlook | Everglades update | Cheatsheets | Mailbag | About this blog | Return to main blog

Intro - When more is more

More correctly understood as "study guides"

By Robert V. Sobczak

The Everglades is hard to understand ...

It's both big and complex.

Cheat sheets are good study guides

That's where a few well-rendered "cheat sheets" come in handy. And just to get one misconception out of the way: Cheat sheets aren't cheating. "Study sheets" is probably the better term. Back in my school days, I used to make them all the time in a run up to a test.

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The goal: Pack as much information as you can on one page in an organized way. People often ask me: "Bob, I love your blog but how do I find the charts." Question received and now answered: In the cheat sheets. I'll be updating them weekly.

Some of our cheatsheets (click to view)

Recent blog posts

Water manager’s delight
How much is "too much?"

For years I’ve struggled …

To make the perfect hydrograph.

Everglades Water Depth Cheat Sheet

My conclusion: It isn’t possible. Every time I finish one, I’m making another. And then when I go back to the one that I thought was a masterpiece, I see room for improvement in how it’s presented. And of course, the data stream has updated. That’s the thing about the water cycle — new data is constantly coming in. It’s just downright hard to keep up. Then there’s always the battle of how much data is “too much?” In my view, the better it’s organized, the more you can back in. The Everglades Water Depth Cheat Sheet may just be the case in point.

About the cheat sheet: It’s my new masterpiece. It took me half a day (up to lunch to create). If that seems like a long time, consider that updating will take just seconds (or rather minutes). So the good news is that it was time well spent.

The deeper truth behind the hydrograph above is that it was 15 years in the making and was fueled by my desire to better understand the Everglades. The key step was charting water depth consistently at each index well using the “slough floor” as the zero reference and using the simple ecological cross section at the top right of the page. As for the historical stats, I calculated them from 1993 to present.

More about the cheat sheet: It’s power is that it allows you to compare apples-to-apples (or oranges-to-oranges as we say in Florida) across the major index wells of the River of Grass; and also go back in time a decade at each site.

I always say I am trying to bring Go Hydrology back to some semblance of its former glory. Looking at this chart, at least on this night, my thought is that I might just get there yet.

Wildfire Cheatsheet
The balance between flood and drought

One goes up …

And the other goes down.

Cheatsheets explore the balance between “just enough” and “too much”

But neither goes away completely. This cheatsheet displays the interrelation and recent history of flood and fire in the Big Cypress and Everglades ecosystems. Or more correctly stated, it compares the dividing line(s) between flood and drought. Drought doesn’t happen all at once, or everywhere at the same time. Of note, the Big Cypress experiences deeper and longer incursions of drought.

wave

Art of the cheat sheet
And how they make you smarter

The Everglades is hard to understand …

It’s both big and complex.

Cheat sheets are good study guides

That’s where a few well-rendered “cheat sheets” come in handy. And just to get one misconception out of the way: Cheat sheets aren’t cheating. “Study sheets” is probably the better term. Back in my school days, I used to make them all the time in a run up to a test. The goal: Pack as much information as you can on one page in an organized way. People often ask me: “Bob, I love your blog but how do I find the charts.” Question received and now answered: In the cheat sheets. I’ll be updating them weekly.

Silver Spring Cheatsheet
The story of the falling baseline

A visiting tourist would be amazed …

At the discharge pumping up from Silver Spring.

Silver Spring Cheatsheet

Meanwhile, an old timer standing right next time him would be underwhelmed compared to what he saw (and remembered) from his youth. The reason? The area around the spring has been protected. But that area isn’t big enough to prevent depletion of headwater flows in the surrounding springshed through municipal groundwater pumping. I’ll leave it to the experts on this one (a combination of new and old timers), but to my knowledge groundwater pumping in and around the Ocala is the cause of the spring’s pre and post 2000 inflection point.