Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Will parched Everglades benefit from historic winter rains? ... by gimleteye

Miami has been rattled by record rainfall and spring-like winter temperatures. At least the Everglades must be benefiting, right? Wrong.

The life cycle of the Everglades and its creatures, from panther, deer and birds to the smallest crustaceans in Florida Bay at the bottom of the Everglades food chain depend on predictable seasonal cycles of rain and, yes, absence of rain.

Across the span of normal winter months, beautiful, cool days of constant sunshine concentrate the wet River of Grass into smaller and smaller ponds. Birds and nesting behavior during the winter months depend on food sources that are also easier to obtain, with less energy expended in search.

The amplitude of extremes in the rain cycle as a result of climate change -- from drought to flood -- have already caused havoc in the Everglades. The billions of dollars invested already and to be invested in the future to restore the Everglades may not be altered by shifts in rainfall patterns through global warming, but nature is already providing its feedback in Florida Bay where a devastating algae bloom has appeared like a gathering, silent and motionless hurricane.

It is going to be a year at least before scientists can evaluate the effect of this year's historic winter rainfall on breeding cycles of wildlife -- especially birds -- in the Everglades.

These delays between effect and cause fuel skeptics, deniers, and especially opponents of government regulations to protect the climate. These are also the voices most likely to say that not only is climate unpredictable but some places will benefit from warmer seasons.

Unfortunately, there is no silver lining with climate change because the loss of seasonal equilibriums demonstrably affects wildlife and also food production for humans. We ignore that reality at significant peril to the future, no matter how full our market shopping aisles are today.

Read in the rainfall a reminder as grim as tides slowly rising above historic averages. If the birds could speak, they would say it's not just a nuisance; it's a matter of life and death. What is at risk is the web of creation that, according to some religions, God charged mankind to protect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lot of crops were drowned and destroyed, expect vegetable prices to spike