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Mid summer soliloquy
Origin story of a hydrologist

When exactly does a hydrologist …

Become a hydrologist?

Bob explains his origin story

In this video, I dive deep into my past to try to figure it out. What I learned? While there was possibly one magical moment “when it all clicked,” it was as much a gradual process as it was instant success. As for my greatest hydrologic achievement. While many may say Go Hydrology, I am very confident that moment has yet to come, and — if it shapes up like I hope it will — it will be nothing short of a total reinvention of the water wheel. Hint: Think sundial meets and an underground cloud.

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Question: Everyone has some hydrologist in them. What’s your water origin story?

My brother (right) introduced me to water. My first boss Dom (left) taught me how to mix water to make mud (i.e. liquid cement) for laying brick and block.

Big Saharan Swamp?
And during soggy season no less

Umbrella be darned,

It’s almost impossible not to get caught in a rainstorm come summer time in the swamp, and getting thoroughly drench.

Available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

But a dust storm? And from the Saharan Desert, no less? And during the soggy summer season in south Florida? Now that’s something if I were to warn you about, you would find hard to believe, and equally uninterested in preparing for. The good news: The plumes of Saharan-desiccated dust blowing in on the wings of the Trade winds are not on the same scale as an Oklahoman sand storm during the Dust Bowl. But it does give one pause for thought: The weather is south Florida’s famed summer rain machine isn’t as isolated as we think. External forces can both stoke and stymie its might, and sometimes completely shut it down as often happens when a hurricane passes off shore up Florida’s east coast (i.e. pumping down drier northern air).

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Tidbit: The Sahara Desert measure 3,000 miles from east to west (about the distance between New York City and San Francisco) and about 1,000 miles from north to south (the distance between Chicago and Houston). Now that’s one big desert!

Summer’s two bookends?
And how they usher in tropical humid and crisp cool air

If summer is a shelf of books …

Memorial and Labor Day are its two bookends.

Available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

Why?  Up on the continent, the end of summer and Labor Day go hand in hand.  Not that you need go immediately from a swim suit to wearing a scarf from one day to the next, but its pretty close — if not like clockwork.  Labor Day definitely favors on the summer side of the divide, serving as its de facto “last hurrah.”  Then there’s the case of Memorial Day down in south Florida.  Just as Labor Day may usher in a freshet of cooler and crisper air Up North, Memorial Day typically is the tropical (not polar) opposite: greeting south Floridians with a chinook of humid air at their door, suddenly giving urgency to the old expression — “Close the door you’re letting the air out!” — and leaving one to wonder if per chance he or she didn’t mistakenly put on a heavy down sweater instead of a T-Shirt.  Yes, it’s that warm and humid.  There’s another saying in Florida: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”  Between Memorial Day and a solid six weeks after Labor Day, the expression especially applies.  

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Little Known Fact: Just because it’s humid, doesn’t mean the shade isn’t cool. Says locals

Intro to the Water Cycle Approach
A step by step guide

Everyone loves the water …

But how do you stay in rhythm with it?

Bob explains the water cycle approach

Answer: It’s called the water cycle approach. In a nutshell, the water cycle serves as proxy and/or handy complement to the seasons. That’s particularly important in south Florida because we don’t have the traditional winter, spring, summer and fall that they enjoy Up North. For one, we don’t have snow. Two, spring is a time of drought not flood. Three, our clouds move the wrong way. The list goes on.

Make no mistake: The water cycle approach works in all climes, and for any watershed. But it also makes sense that it was invented in the Big Cypress Swamp. Why? For one, it took a National Park Service hydrologist to incubate on and implement the idea. Who else has one foot in the water and one in the data as much as me? Two, the swamp has an intermittently hyperactive and dyspeptically dormant water regime. Feast and famine happens every year, without fail. It’s called the wet and dry season. If water is life, the water cycle is also part sport in south Florida.

In my opinion, the water cycle is even more enjoyable (and rewarding) to tune into than your favorite home team. Disclaimer: I am both a Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins fan, although my hometown team and the team I love most is the Baltimore Colts.

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About Go Hydrology: We didn’t invent the water cycle, we make the water cycle better.

Cheat sheets explained
And why they are similar to chocolate

Say what you will …

Cheat sheets get people excited.

Firelight Radio is available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

The reason?  Maybe it’s the illusion that they are a short cut to understanding something that’s very complex.  But I think there’s more to it than that.  People want to be on the inside looking out, and when it comes to complex topics, people just want to ramp up their understanding so they can lend a helping hand.  That’s where Go Hydrology’s cheat sheets play a vital role.  They help make experts better and amateurs burgeoning experts.  The truth is, the wisdom of the masses outperforms any one person’s knowledge.  These cheat sheets help bring more people into the game.

The real dirty secret about cheat sheets is this: Yes, they simplify the world, but they are actually quite hard to make. There is no short cut to making a good cheat sheet. As for the chocolate connection, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to discover what that’s all about.