Are you water cycle aware? Sit in on a hydrology lesson brought to you by Bob where he goes over the ins and outs of reading a hydrograph, how he computes stats, and other technical water stuff. | Speaking Water | Podcast | Narrated movies | Power-point lectures | Water tutorials | Water Writings | Measured Water | Fireside waters | Visit basins | Visit water cycle| About blog | Return to main blog

Intro - Inside the hydrograph

Short explanations on water data

By Robert V. Sobczak

I got the message:

Some people simply cannot read a hydrograph.

Once you can read one, they all start to pop

Or is it a matter of a short tutorial. Whatever the case, these short sessions go behind the scenes to explain how the hydrologic sausage gets made, and what the various details of a color-rich chart or graph means. And really, even for a seasoned veteran, it's good to hear what somebody has to say about something they made.

Recent Tutorials

How To: Read a Rain Chart
I get it, charts can be boring (without narration)

Not that I’m a wildly dynamic speaker …

Nor are rain charts especially charismatic.

Bob has a one-on-one conversation with a rain chart

But combine the two together and I think you get, well — I think you’ll see the result. At the heart of the issue is what I’ve been told so many times: “Bob, you make a splendid rain chart, but most people don’t know how to read them.” And so my journey began, hours after hours, years upon years, in the quest to make the perfect rain chart. My conclusion: I think the only way to give a rain chart its due is to allow it to talk, and speak for itself. Okay, I’ll admit. I had to add the voice. And yes, I had to juice up the charts a bit (some would say with too many colors). Just don’t say I didn’t try.

Comparison of dry season rainfall, from 1970 to present. Cool color-coded bars indicate wet winters and warm color-coded bars indicate drier than normal winter.

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#Overheard: South Florida’s water year starts on May 1st, but the wet season doesn’t officially kick in until around May 20th.

Click “Read More” to see all the hydrographs!

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dry season

Tutorial: Drought Cheatsheet
Why the swamp dries out faster than the Glades

There’s two types of drought in Florida:

Meteorologic and ecological (i.e. based on the ground).

Bob explains the ins and outs of his Soil Moisture Cheatsheet

This is especially the case in the natural lands south of Lake Okeechobee. Hydroperiod is the catch-all term to describe the duration that water persists in any given habitat throughout the year. In the Big Cypress, the term doesn’t work as well, with “soil moisture” replacing it as the operative term. So long as soils are hydric (i.e. moist) they play a powerful influence on keeping seasonal susceptibility to drought at bay, and in particularly prevent large and uncontained wildfires from springing up.

In the tutorial above, Bob explains both how he created and how you can use his weekly-updated cheat sheet to better understand (and drill down into) the subtle differences between spring drought in the Big Cypress versus the Everglades.

A closer look at the cheatsheet

Find out more about the Go Hydrology Cheatsheets at https://gohydrology.org/cheatsheets/.

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Rule: “The swamp is a flood and fire adapted ecosystem. Every square inch of flora and fauna depend on a goldilock’s return interval and dosage of flood and fire. So goes flood and fire, so goes the swamp.” Bob says

Go Hydrology 3.0
New features for the water cycle enthusiast

Do you love the water cycle …

But always feel you’re on the outside looking in?

Go Hydrology 3.0 Explained

Fear not and join the club. And by the club I mean both Go Hydrology and everybody else out there under the sun. The water cycle is the great uniter that connect us all and that we are constantly trying to figure out. With Go Hydrology it’s less about the product than the process. I always say in life, if you enjoy the process (i.e. the water cycle) then you’re on the right path and everything else will fall in place. As for the product, I’ve always been a “get the project done” type person, and that’s probably what inspired me to build Go Hydrology from the start, and also refine it (and refine it) over time. The above video explains some recent restructuring on the blog with two big goals in mind: (1) increasing discoverability (i.e. for you to find what you want) and (2) turning it into a Florida wide watershed journal. Most of all we’re all in this together. So if you have any comments or ideas, let me know and we’ll figure it out. When it comes to the water cycle and our watersheds, we’re all on the same team.

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Quotable: “The water cycle is our passport to nature”