Swamp’s vicious (water) cycle

Are spring droughts the new Hurricane season?

In recent years, it’s seemed that way.

Five-year hydrograph of surface water
in Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve, 2008-present

The hydrograph above shows the rise and fall of surface water in Big Cypress National Preserve over the past five years, 2008 to present. Two springs jump out for the severity of their spring drydown — 2009 and 2011. Both years corresponded with major wildfires, too. But two of the past five springs have had drydowns in the normal range and one year (2010) didn’t experience a spring drydown at all.

So far this winter we appear to be tracking normal.

But all it takes is a few weeks of no rain or one big rain event to push us to either extreme of the spring drydown spectrum. It won’t be until the start of the rainy season in June that we’ll finally breathe a sigh of relief. By then it will be hurricane season.

It’s one vicious water cycle in the swamp.

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