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Instructional kit
Perils of doing it yourself

You see them all the time in text books:

“Still life” diagrams of the water cycle.

As pretty as they look ….

The real trick is getting them to spin.

Easier said than done:

As multi-disciplinary as those diagrams appear (or proselytize) to be, they have a starchy and static and sort of abstract quality, as if they are stuck in time and their arrows stuck-in-place as if to say “yes, this is how the water cycle works, but don’t bother with the exact numbers or where all the water is now as we speak because it’s too complicated to know.” The truth is: Weather people tend to stick to the sky, and the water suppliers focus on what’s coming out of the ground, and home owners on their sprinkler heads, and gate keepers on their individual gates.

But what if we could unite the water cycle, each gear great and small …

And watch them them spin around in real time?

Water is all around us, and constantly in motion

Trust me,

It’s harder than it looks.

One wrong turn and all the water runs out.

gohydrology 101

Go Hydrology 101
An introduction to the blog

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Go Hydrology is all about the “water-cycle approach”

Introduction

“Are you fascinated by the weather but find yourself continually in the dark about by the water cycle’s other half?

Go Hydrology shines a light on the entire water wheel of south Florida using a concept I call the water-cycle approach.

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Shifts in the water cycle can be as obvious (or as subtle) as the seasonal shifts … which if you are a northerner are hard to see in south Florida.

What is the Water Cycle Approach?

South Florida is unlike any other part of America.  It doesn’t have winter the noun – i.e. northerners escape winter (the noun) by wintering (the verb) down in south Florida.  Meanwhile, when they leave to go back up north in spring, they are greeted by continental spring floods just at the same time that south Florida is descending into the complete opposite state – a seasonal (and sometimes deep) spring drought.  But drought in south Florida?  How is that even possible in the same place that gets a whopping 55 inches of annual rain?  To confuse matters even worse, the clouds that bring that rain actually move in the wrong direction (… long story).

Suffice it to say, south Florida’s unique seasonal pattern is contradictory by normal northern standards.  And even for the folks that understand the seasonal water fluctuations have trouble keeping up: south Florida’s seasons don’t let the water cycle stay in any one spot for long – some would even call it hyperactive.  Half the year is as wet as it can get (except when it isn’t) followed by an another half of desert-like drought.

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Water deepens as trees grow taller in the swamp

Arguable no place is more tied to the hip with its water than south Florida – to the point that you might assume there was a hydrology page in all the local newspapers. Instead, water seems to be startlingly under-reported in the local news.  For example,

  • Newspapers report on the Everglades, but it’s usually policy-oriented articles that don’t viscerally connect the reader with current conditions in the swamp. Meanwhile, television provides viewers with the local weather, but broadcasts are invariable limited to what’s happening up in the sky: how water is affecting watersheds on the ground is almost completely left out.
  • Newspapers and television are five-day forecast centric: the historical, seasonal, statistical, regional or Florida-wide context of drought and rainfall are usually lacking.  Yes, it’s wet or dry, but by how much, which area is driest, how does that compare historically, and what does that mean for the ecosystem?
  • Even at the most basic level, readers overwhelmingly find themselves out of touch with south Florida’s seasons.  When does fall begin?  What counts as a winter day?  When does the wet season finally fill its cup? When does a normal winter drought turn into severe drought?

The net effect is that readers put down the newspaper being no more informed about trends in the region’s vital (yet perplexing) water resources or shifts in the peninsula’s (fascinating but glanced over) subtropical climate than when they picked it up.  This is a noteworthy missed opportunity for both the newspaper and readers alike …

And precisely where Go Hydrology! steps in.

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The water will draw you in

Goals of Go Hydrology!

Go Hydrology! is your guide into the inner realm of south Florida’s ferocious fly-wheel of hydrologic fury.  It is aimed to resonate with the water management community and simultaneously make sense to the lay person fishermen, kayaker, or recreationalist, too.  The water cycle is the great fountain in the sky and on and under the ground that binds us together as a community here in south Florida.  It more than anything forms our common bond with the environment and each other.  

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We all love the water

Go Hydrology! helps translates vital water information (fresh out of the oven as it comes in) and …

  • Chronicles major (and minor) milestones of south Florida’s water cycle,
  • Illuminates and simplifies the complex inner-workings of south Florida’s major wetlands, watersheds and water ways – including the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, Everglades, Big Cypress, and more,
  • Celebrates south Florida’s seasonal rules-of-thumbs and trends, including adding water cycle twists to traditional holiday lore, i.e. the meteorologic meaning of Memorial and Columbus Days, why Labor Day is south Florida’s rendition of Groundhog Day and why the hydrologic New Year doesn’t start on January 1st,
  • Compares and contrasts seasonal water patterns of the south peninsula to the panhandle and the Continental US,  
  • Showcases rainfall and drought levels across every part of south Florida and Florida-wide (at daily, weekly, monthly, wet and dry season, annual and decadal scales),
  • And more.
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Getting in touch with water is an adventure

Go Hydrology! is your guide to the inner workings of the south Florida’s constantly spinning water cycle.  Oh, and don’t forget if you haven’t already to sign up for the Weekly Wave Newsletter. We deliver it straight to your e-mail inbox about once per week.

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How To: Ride the Water Cycle
The right and wrong way

Not to be mistaken …

With a giant bike in the sky.

Photo of bike taken at Oasis

The water cycle is more accurately represented …

By the water wheel below.

It receives water from the sky and sends it onto (and down into) the ground below (i.e. the aquifer).

Retired water wheel

Unlike the retired water wheel above,

The real hydrologic cycle is constantly in motion.

With no hope of retiring anytime soon.

firelight radio

Summer love affair
Why Floridians ❤ Summer

Summer in Florida gets a bum rap.

Too hot, too humid, too many mosquitoes.

Comparison of air temperatures up the East Coast

And I’m not here to argue that it isn’t inordinately long compared to what anybody is used to up North.

Look at that beauty!

But I will put a plug in for Florida’s summer clouds.

They are by far the best of anyplace I’ve ever been.

Find out more in this podcast why summer is actually Florida’s seasonal gem.

Introducing Water Drop

Who is Water Drop?

He’s just like any other old water drop. Or in other words – yes, he’s that special! You see, whether falling on Yellowstone National Park or landing on a city sidewalk, all drops are equal and part of the Great Water Cycle of Life.

How does the Water Cycle work?

For one, it’s a continual work in progress. That means whatever you saw today, don’t expect it to last. The water cycle is constantly changing and repeating itself. That’s where Water Drop comes in. Not just any “1/20th of a milliliter” globule, what Water Drop lacks in volumistic stature, he makes up for by wearing “many hats.

More about Water Drop:

He’s also the mascot of Go HydrologyGo Hydrology is a website/blog that celebrates and illuminates the water cycle. Yes, I’ll admit – Go Hydrology is a bit centric to south Florida and specifically the Big Cypress Swamp. But the thing about Water Drop, he gets around, too. Whether it’s discussing flows in the Mississippi River, Colorado River, or virtually anywhere else – Water drop is a big fan of keeping it clean, flowing and fresh. And maybe that summarizes best what Go Hydrology is all about.

Until next time, thank you for reading.

Let’s keep the water cycle conversation flowing.

Sincerely,

P.S. Be on the lookout for my Water Cycle Weekly. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Happy new (water) year!

Most people think the new year starts in January,

But for south Florida hydrology the water year starts fresh May 1st.

The water year in south Florida begins anew each May

Compare that to continental hydrologists who universally ring in the new water year each October.

October is the northern standard because it coincides with the annual ebb of the water table. Fall approximates the inflection point when the steadily dropping summer water table bottoms out and slowly, and sometimes fast, starts to rise … usually peaking in spring.

South Florida’s water cycle is reversed:

Water levels rise (not fall) all summer long, finally peaking in fall during the summer rainy season’s end, then followed by the long steady drop of the winter dry season water table which, in its final days of spring, accelerates at a drought defying rate.

Low times of year are flipped

We still have some dry days ahead of us in May,

But for accounting purposes, the new year has begun.