Welcome to Spring

Where Go Hydrology probes into the meaning of drought

Spring nosedive explained
The Tortoise pulls ahead of the Hare

Campfire talk on the spring nosedive

Florida’s wet and dry seasons …

Are comparable to the race between the Tortoise and the Hare.

The Tortoise pulls ahead!

Think of the hare as the hard-pounding summer rains.

That’s when the swamp rapidly floods over and fills up and the Hare pulls ahead with a far lead.

But just when it looks like the Hare all but won the race …

water cycle

Of canals and droughts
How one canal defies drought

You know it’s dry when …

You can cross a canal without getting wet.

Upper Wagon Wheel Road during drought
Upper Wagon Wheel Road during a deep spring drought

Well, maybe not all canals.

The L-28 Interceptor is a good ten feet deep.

Looking upstream at the Everglades S-190
Looking upstream at the Everglades S-190

But as wet as that looks,

Canal stage is 3 feet below the ground surface the swamp ecosystem it bisects.

Not all gators can make it to the above canal.

Even the borrow ponds they depend on in deep drought are drying up.

Mudhole along Bear Island Grade
What was a pond turned into a mud hole

I know that gators aren’t the most cuddly of creatures,

But they deserve water in the ecosystem which is their home.

Verdict: canals and levees conspire to amplify the severity of seasonal drought.

Spring “nose dive”

Don’t blame it on the plants,

But their springtime transpiration is partly the cause.

March is the month that
the water table starts to nose dive.

As pretty as the green trees look.

They also consume a lot of water.

Currently, the water table is almost touching down at the swamp’s typical low water mark.

The catch is that usually happens in mid May.

Last I looked at the calendar that’s a full two months away.

Or in other words, it could be a deep (and long) spring drought.

dry season

History of “dry season” rain

To be sure,

The dry season is not over yet.

The chart above shows dry season rainfall in Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve from 1970 to present.  Red bars indicated “dry” dry seasons and blue bars indicate “wet” dry seasons.  Can you see how the past few dry seasons have been either “wet” or “dry?”  This year’s dry season total to date is just over 6 inches.

We still have another two months.

So it’s too early to predict a deep spring drought.

But now that the green out has begun,

A good 3-4 inches of dry season rain may be in store …

To boost us back into the long-term norm of around 11 inches of winter rain.