The green out of the cypress is a big swamp’s milestone:
The second half of the winter dry season has now begun.
|The above bar chart reports the annual duration (in months) that the floor of the pond apple forest has gone dry in Big Cypress National Preserve, from 1992 to present. The years 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 also coincided with major wildfires.|
The cooler temperatures of the first half (Nov-Feb) put evaporation on hold.
Look for it to heat up now that the second half (Mar-May) has begun.
That means water levels will start dropping faster and — more and more — surface water will be harder and harder to find. The place you find it last is in the center of the cypress domes and strands where the pond apple trees call home.
The surest sign that deep drought has hit the swamp?
|Late March 2011|
Answer: That’s when the pond apple roots become exposed. Last year it happened just for just two weeks. Two years before that (see photo above) over four months.