I haven’t heard from anyone at the Florida Sea Base but the radar tells a dismal tale.

Click to enlarge.

Today was scheduled to be the final dive for the Scuba Adventure crew, but that is obviously not going to happen.  They will have luau tonight and go home tomorrow morning.

Three Coral Reef Sailing crews had luau last night and the final three have luau tonight.  These three crews will also depart tomorrow morning.  That will conclude the 2012 spring program season at the Florida Sea Base.  Ta Da!!!!!

Since I don’t have anything else, I thought I would share some lessons I learned during my drive from the Florida Sea Base to the Mother Country.

Florida has nice, clean, roadside parks with night security.  (Apparently you are on your own during daylight hours.)

Smart phones are very handy when traveling.

Texting or emailing (from one’s smart phone) is a more appropriate form of communication (than voice calls) while occupying a roadside park stall. This is immeasurably more appropriate when the guy in the stall next to yours is making noises like a rhinoscerous in rutting season.  (Yes Mrs. Clever, we did receive Beaver’s medical form.  What’s that sound you ask?  Did I mention I was calling from the zoo?)

Some men apparently use the stalls in the roadside parks for prayer sessions.  Rather loud calls of “Thank you Jesus” and “Oh God” are fairly frequent in the men’s room.

“Hands Free Automatic Operation” signs posted above the toilets do not mean TOTALLY hands free.

While the smart phone is an excellent tool in these environments, it is best to sit the phone aside BEFORE wiping.

Here’s a weather lesson learned from our friend Chip Kasper, NWS Senior Marine Weather Forecaster, Key West, Florida:

Hi Capt. Steve,

I saw your blog entry the other day about the differences in wind speed over land versus water, and thought I would try to shed a little light on the issue from a local meteorology perspective.

First, if we measure the winds up at, say, 2000 or 3000 feet above the Florida Keys and adjacent coastal waters, they generally will be quite uniform in direction and speed over a wide geographic area.  The wind undergoes accelerations and decelerations, as well as changes in “gustiness” as we descend toward the surface.  There are two primary reasons for these changes:  1)  Friction; and 2)  Horizontal and Vertical Temperature Contrasts.

Friction comes into play near the earth’s surface, and air movement near the surface is highly influenced by friction compared with air movement 100 or 1000 or 3000 feet above the surface.  The force of friction is greater on land than over water, and on certain types of land than over others.  Friction over land tends to both decrease overall sustained wind speed and increase turbulence, causing greater differences between lulls and peaks.

The other reason to account for land-water wind speed differences is the contrast of horizontal and vertical temperature.  Surface temperature is important because it helps determine the overall rate of temperature fall with height.  This is important, in turn, because the rate of temperature fall with height is directly proportional to the rate of momentum transfer downward, which influences observed wind speed at the surface.  This comes into play in the Keys especially at night when air over land cools faster than air over adjacent water, and during the winter when local sea surface temperature (and corresponding overlying air temperature) gradients are largest.

For example, the temperature on land at the Florida Sea Base may fall to 65 (F) on some random February evening with light northeast winds off a cool Florida Bay, while at the same time the temperature at nearby Alligator Reef (over water and closer to the Gulf Stream) holds near 78 (F).  The wind at Alligator Reef actually may be anywhere from 20-50% higher than that which is observed at the Florida Sea Base.  In this case, the temperature difference is 13 (F) due to cooler air flowing from Florida Bay into the Florida Sea Base, which then cools further due to the lower heat capacity of land versus water.  This is one of the main reasons why the winds at Long Key (in Florida Bay) are so often lower than those observed at the Florida Reefs.

A careful observer will notice these affects simply by walking from the dock “inland” for a few blocks, especially at night.

Finally, because the wind speed difference is manifest as a percentage increase, one will observe much greater wind speed differences with higher wind regimes (e.g., 30% of 10 knots is only 3 knots, whereas 30% of 30 knots is 9 knots!).

I hope this helps!



Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Trying to stay warm in Texas

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