Or why average rainfall records do not fully relay the ups and downs of rainy season (nor dry season).
As I sit writing this blog we are soaked in rain from a brush with Ian. This rainfall event and the past 10 days of rainy weather have made up for a near record 5” rainfall deficient in August and July. And we will likely now exceed our annual rainfall average for 2022.
What will we miss when reviewing this data in the future? Higher-than-average temperatures combined with lower-than-average rainfall in the heart of our rainy season made for some very difficult conditions in landscapes, for our agricultural crops, and in our natural areas. It also created very uncomfortable conditions for all that worked or played outside. The ripple effect is still to be determined on how this has affected wildlife and our own health.
Studying the effects of these weather fluctuations using the scientific method, the same method you used in grade school to create yearly science projects is what we call scientific or evidenced based data.
Some folks including a few of our Miami Dade County partner departments feel that we are too stuck on evidence-based information, aka science. We have a solution for that of course! Visit the newish and ever-expanding Gardening Solutions website. It is visually stunning and chock full of must have information in an easy to locate and easy to understand format. Look for a future workshop on how to get the most out of this website!
For those who look for evidenced based information the EDIS website has also updated into a new user-friendly format and continues to update publications and issue new publications, solutions to ongoing issues.
Back to the problem at hand…. we are now working from home as we have flood advisories-already 6 plus inches of rain, tornado indicators on Doppler radar and a tropical storm watch. Note average rainfall for the month of September is 8 inches.
Our issues with Ian here in the Redland/Homestead are stemming from saturated soils. We have plenty of open space for water to find the earth, go to ground and recharge the Biscayne Aquifer. However, it is raining faster than our sand-based soils which are extremely permeable, can absorb it and the aquifer level will be rising as well. Miami Dade coastal areas are facing this issue but exasperated by King High tides and stormwater runoff. This could be a disastrous event for Biscayne Bay and coastal areas along the bay. King Tides with Storm Surge likely to push more water on land and carry pollutants into the bay as they recede. And remember canals drain to the bay, inland areas are our “upstream”.
So, what happened this year that caused the dry spell in the heart of our rainy season?
Scientific consensus points to African or Saharan Dust in the atmosphere perhaps causing lower humidity (dew point) that would normally produce the super rain drops that get so heavy they fall from the clouds.
Our next question should be, is this a “new” normal? NOAA has a new satellite a new satellite view noting Saharan Dust aka SAL. Exlopre the resources links noted below . And remember we touched 960F several days in August! No rain cooled periods and no cloud cover either.
For the curious at heart, what happened to the Cedars of Lebanon, and what happened to the shallow lake, wetlands that once existed that now produce Saharan Dust? Pressures on water resources to more grow food for expanding populations, food for export (dates), harvesting timber for war ships plus ongoing shifts in climate are probable contributors. Sahara – Wikipedia
Just as we are globally linked now in combating the effects of climate change and finding, implementing solutions to bring our planet back in balance, we are also linked to the choices made by our ancestors. Factors that were set in play long ago.
We have advanced weather information technologies. We can watch satellite views for days and see tracking models that can help us prepare for the advance of hurricanes, weather events. However, this does not mean we have a crystal ball.
We can look to our past, what has worked, what has caused problems, a SWOT Analysis deep look at climate issues, thoroughly research solutions to ensure they do not create collateral damages. And do everything we know that works and be prepared, always!