Thursday, May 9, 2013

Looking ahead...

Located at the very south-easternmost point in the continental United States, Florida is a subtropical peninsula with the Everglades wetlands in the south which make up 734 square miles of the state of Florida. Despite the heat and humidity in the south and the Everglades, the north part of the state can sometimes experience cold spells that cause freezes and damage orange groves and crops. 

Original article here:

Since Florida is a subtropical climate, it experiences a lot of humidity and precipitation and rarely fluctuating temperatures nearly year-round. But because climate is greatly affected by oceans, and Florida is a peninsula, it often falls prey to strong storm surges during hurricane season (June 1st-November 30th).  

-Florida 1000 Years From Now-

It is believed that Florida used to be much larger, but due to rising sea levels over thousands of years, it has become the much thinner version we know today. Because of this, there is reason to believe that the sea levels will continue to rise.

"The annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, roughly twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years" (

  If I have done the math correctly, based on that data:

Note: 1 meter = 39.37 inches
39.37 x 5 (meters)=196.85

I believe that this 5 meter rise in sea level would take about 1000-1500 years. Obviously, this is a rough estimate based on current data that is subject to change and skew this data once again, but it's important to keep in mind that Florida looked different a long time ago and it won't always look the way it does now.

-Florida 10,000 Years From Now-

Keeping the theory about 1000 years in mind, the sea levels will continue to rise even more than the 5 meters in 1000-1500 years. The picture below shows what Florida would like after 10,000 years with the continued rise in sea level...

Interestingly, Southern Florida is surrounded by many coral reefs due to the submerged land and limestone from thousands of years ago and the warm water. According to,  "Coral reefs only grow in shallow, clear sea water. Reefs will not form in areas where terrestrial sediments or murky storm waters might cover and smother reef organisms. For instance, the Gulf Stream moves sediments from the Mississippi River and other streams and rivers along the Gulf Coast. These sediments prevent reefs from developing along the northwestern coast of Florida. Now, Florida's coral reefs are now developing only in warm, clear water conditions of South Florida and the Keys."   

But it goes on to say: "Many reef organisms are restricted to select environments. [Only certain species] can tolerate the often rough wave energy on the seaside of the reef crest. Whereas, other species are adapted only to the shallow, warmer, and more restricted regions in the inner reef or reef flats. Other species are adapted to the cooler and deeper waters of the outer reef. Ocean currents erode and sweep some of the dead reef material into deeper water settings offshore."


-Florida 1,000,000 Years From Now-

 So...what? Right? If you think about the world in terms of a million years, or millions of years, there is a substantial difference between them, maybe not consecutively, but over a great deal of time, a lot of change can happen, including evolution. Looking ahead, and thinking in terms of a million years and what Florida is supposed to look like in 10,000 years (basically nonexistent), and the constraints (for lack of a better word) of reefs and the life they support, in a million years, the creatures inhabiting the reefs of southern Florida will have evolved and adapted to live in a larger reef system (like the Great Barrier Reef), despite the deposition from nearby rivers.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Florida's Climate and Temperature

Climate, by definition is "the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years."
Different climates are distinguished by their "region" or latitudinal zone. For example, a
Subtropical climate refers to the "zone" that lies within the "range of latitudes between 30/40° and 45°". As far as climate goes, the closer one is to the poles, the more varied and colder the weather will be (higher latitude means colder weather). In contrast, the closer one is to the equator (0 degrees latitude), warmer and more uniform the climate and weather will be found and experienced. 

Florida has a subtropical climate with warm temperatures and typically uniform precipitation throughout the year. According to, "Average annual temperatures range from 65° to 70°F (18° to 21°C) in the north, and from 74° to 77°F (23° to 25°C) in the southern peninsula and on the Keys."

 A common, more specific or detailed way of looking at or thinking about climate is the "Köppen climate classification, widely used, vegetation-based empirical climate classification system developed by German botanist-climatologist Wladimir Köppen." Revising his initial publication of his system, it's letter-based and gives a detailed description of the climate of a specific place.


According to the Koppen system, Florida's climate classification is Cfa, referring to the chart above:
C-Midlatitude with mild winters
f-mild with no dry season (humid subtropical)
a-hot summer season


Climate is greatly affected by oceans and ocean currents. According to, "In summer, these regions are largely under the influence of moist, maritime airflow from the western side of the subtropical anticyclonic cells over low-latitude ocean waters." The atmosphere (air/weather) and oceans are nearly directly related to each other, when one changes, it often causes the other to change similarly. Besides wind, different currents affect different parts of the earth as well as their own climates and weather patterns.
Florida's climate is greatly affected by the oceans as well as its latitudinal zone, which explains much of the weather and precipitation Florida experiences, including hurricanes. According to the National Hurricane Center, "Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and ends November 30th."


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Groundwater in Florida

Ground water is water that pools underground after it rains and can be harnessed in wells, springs or aquifers and used to fill several needs. There are pools of high quality ground water under much of Florida that is used by nearly 90% of the population for drinking water. As well as feeding into many of the springs and surface lakes and rivers. 

"Groundwater is found in one of two soil layers; The one nearest the surface is the 'zone of aeration', where gaps between soil are filled with both air and water. Below this layer is the 'zone of saturation', where the gaps are filled with water. The water table is the boundary between these two layers. As the amount of groundwater water increases or decreases, the water table rises or falls accordingly. When the entire area below the ground is saturated, flooding occurs because all subsequent precipitation is forced to remain on the surface" (

Florida has several programs to monitor the ground water that work mostly within the state, such as the University of Florida (Watershed Restoration) and with the EPA. The Ground Water Management Program and the Watershed Restoration Program focus on "evaluating and addressing ground water resources that adversely affect surface water quality...Much of this work focuses on springs (" 

Silver Glen Springs tucked away on Lake George near the St. Johns River and in Ocala National Forest.
As well as "focusing on ecological and water quality restoration of the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee...[and] the Indian River Lagoon and St. Johns River Basin"(

"The CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program) was authorized by Congress in 2000 as a plan to 'restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection' ( This diagram illustrates CERPs goal of their restoration efforts.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Coquina, pronounced co-kee-na, is a type of sedimentary rock found in Florida. Although it's not limited to being found only in Florida, there is a lot of it around because "The end of the Pleistocene Era (1.8 million years ago-approx 11,550 years ago) corresponds with the retreat of the last continental glacier. Florida itself, and its landmass, was rising from the sea, and Coquina rock began forming along a long portion of Florida's East Coast" (

It is formed from "incompletely consolidated sedimentary rock...formed of billions of small clam-like seashell, called Coquina, or cockleshell. Overall composition of most Coquina rock is a mixture of these and other shells"

 According to, it is geologically known as Donak Variabilis.

According to, Since "Coquina rock, as it exists today, was formed along the East Coast of Florida, formations can be found near the coast, from Palm Beach, Florida, then Northward to South of Jacksonville, Florida. Coquina rock can be found as far as 20 miles inland, and most deposits follow the Eastern Coast, and along the now I-95 corridor." 

Spanish colonists were the first to come to the US, landing in Saint Augustine, the oldest city/settlement in the country. The Spanish used coquina to build their fort, the "Castillo de San Marcos". Since they were the first to find and utilize coquina, it should come as no surprise that "coquina" is a spanish word that means “cockle shell” or “tiny shell”. 

As if the Spanish had any other options, coquina was the only stone accessible on Florida's coast, but what they feared would be a disadvantage, turned out to be an enormous benefit. Due to it's conglomerate mixture and "light and porous nature" it's millions of "microscopic air pockets" makes it compressible; "cannon balls fired at the walls of the Castillo burrowed their way into the rock and stuck there, much like a bb would if fired into Styrofoam. So the thick coquina walls absorbed or deflected projectiles rather than yielding to them, providing a surprisingly long-lived fortress" (

I've been to the castillo, these are some of the pictures I took...



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reason for blog...

Macayla Isler
Blog #1
I'm a Colorado native and while I love my home state, Florida has become like a second home for me since we started traveling there about 5 years ago. My parents property sits on a canal that goes out to Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida. 

It's surrounded by Lake George State Forest which is completely protected, so the land will never be developed; it's like a private, nature lover's oasis. It also connects to the St. Johns River, and before you even come to the river, there is a natural clear water spring.

 This map shows the lake, and the St. Johns River flowing from the south and through Lake George. The river will eventually take you to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean after that.

These are pictures of the surrounding forest from the lake that I took when I was there over Christmas break. 

 We didn't see any a few weeks ago, but in the summer we often see Bald Eagles nesting in these huge trees outside our front door.

These are pictures of the canal itself. You can see that the water is brackish and unclear which makes for a surprisingly exciting time fishing since you never know what you'll catch; anything from catfish and bass to this sting ray my dad caught once!    

 This is a juvenile alligator that was in the canal during one of our trips that couldn't be removed because it wasn't BIG enough yet...

 These grasshoppers are everywhere! And just to prove how big they are, I had to take a picture with something for scale. But I couldn't find anything and was afraid he was going to move, so I took this awkward picture of my hand and a freakishly huge insect. You're welcome.

 I love the Spanish moss, and the trees that line the edge of the lake. It really makes you feel like you're in a desolate, wild, (kinda creepy) swamp.

 There are so many more awesome (Physical Geography-related) things to talk about regarding Florida, but I chose to do my blog on Florida because of Lake George.