Regional climate gradients in precipitation and temperature in response to climate teleconnections in the Greater Everglades ecosystem of South Florida
Precipitation and temperature in Florida responds to climate teleconnections from both the Pacific and Atlantic regions. In this region south of Lake Okeechobee, encompassing NWS Climate Divisions 5, 6, and 7, modern movement of surface waters are managed by the South Florida Water Management District and the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water supply, and Everglades restoration within the constraints of the climatic variability of precipitation and evaporation. Despite relatively narrow, low-relief, but multi-purposed land separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico, South Florida has patterns of precipitation and temperature that vary substantially on spatial scales of 101–102 km. Here we explore statistically significant linkages to precipitation and temperature that vary seasonally and over small spatial scales with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Over the period from 1952 to 2005, ENSO teleconnections exhibited the strongest influence on seasonal precipitation. The Multivariate ENSO Index was positively correlated with winter (dry season) precipitation and explained up to 34 % of dry season precipitation variability along the southwest Florida coast. The AMO was the most influential of these teleconnections during the summer (wet season), with significant positive correlations to South Florida precipitation. These relationships with modern climate parameters have implications for paleoclimatological and paleoecological reconstructions, and future climate predictions from the Greater Everglades system.
Moses, C., W.T. Anderson, C.J. Saunders, F.H. Sklar. 2013. Regional climate gradients in precipitation and temperature in response to climate teleconnections in the Greater Everglades ecosystem of South Florida. Journal of Paleolimnology 49(1): 5-14.