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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
D: weather bureau here in Miami?
R: Since 1911.
and things was
D: What is your present staff.and I amazed in the amount of things going
R: Yes. Actually, our present staff is eighty-eight, and,of course, people
wonder how could you possibly use eighty-eight people, but that includes
the and international aviation. That includes a tropical
analysis center which serves not only the tropical and sub-tropical portions
of the United States, but the Central American, the Carribean, and well out
over the Atlantic, and that is the international aviation route from the
Carribean. All depend upon materials for and, then, in addition
to that, we are a communications center. We are the relay point at weather
between Central and South America and the United States. In other words,
all of South American countries and Central American countries, the
weather services and the Carribean are dependent upon the broadcast of
R: Miami for their weather information and in turn, we take the weather
observations from South and Central America relay them to Washington
where in turn they are relayed to Europe and any other area of the
world that's interested.
D: Well, I had no idea that it was so big. Now, do you.. Is this one
of the biggest in the country?
R: Yes, this is probably the largest office outside of Central
D: I realize that. Well, that's fascinating. Well, that's right
up my alley. Now, in
talking about the climate of South Florida, well, supposing that we just
start by my asking you, you were to the climate of South
Florida, how would you do so? in it's broadest and when I mean South
Florida I would say that portion from Lake Okechobee from the Palm Beach
R: The climate of South Florida is classified as sub-tropical marine
featured by.a long, warm, moist summer with abundant rainfall followed
by a comparatively mild dry winter. The marine influence is evidenced
by the low, daily temperature as the rapid warming of the cold air
masses that come down over this area. Another way of looking at it is
R: it might be said that we have a monsoon climate, not to the extent
that they do in India and Southeast Asia, but nevertheless, a tremendous
change between winter and summer. In the summertime the daily winds
from the southeast that bring^in this warm,moist air as I said traverse
the^Atlantic. In the wintertime, the 'iinds have a come
from it and much of our air as originally come down from the Artic in
Canada and Alaska andsometimes coming over from Siberia, but nevertheless
a warm and modified as the moves southward and in some places
coming in from the northeast
D: Well, what does monsoon mean? When somebody says that monsoons ,
when you think of monsoons, you think of India and the jungles and
the rain and, but so monsoon must have a technical meaning. Say,if you
were to define a monsoon, what would that
R: I f we define it in the strictest technical sense,"monsoon" means wind
system. In other words, when the winds are conservative, that is they
change comparatively little with time over a long period. For example,
in India, Southeast Asia, in the wintertime, the winds are from the
northeast, which mean that they come off of continental Asia, although
at Singapore, they may have had a trajectory over water. In the summertime,
R: they're from the southwest. In other words, a long trajectory over
the Indian Ocean, but in the popular sense monsoon has come to mean
when they speak of the monsoon season, they are speaking of the rainy
season. That's when the turns around to come up.
At the ocean, yeah.
D: Now, at one point, now let s talk about the Trade Winds because I .came
up with this before when I was writing something and I talked with
someone here in the weather bureau and our southwest wind that we have in
if you would.
the summer is.. Well, just explain about that, I recall that it was a
wind that was the remains of the Trade Winds which had changed slightly
in its direction. I wonder if you could amplify it.
R: Well, it's .. Through out the year, we have an area type pressure over
the Atlantic Ocean and I think all oceans have coming from that area
high pressure. Then, in the Atlantic it is called the Azore Burmuda
and the cyclone. Now it varies in intensity and in positions to some
extent from winter to summer. In summer, it is stronger, it's not of
more of its
its^wintertime position and underneath this area coming from the area
of high pressure around which there is a clockwise circulation
so the clockwise circulation means that underneath the winds are from
an easterly direction. That is, it may be northeast. It is northeast
R: on the eastern side but east, you might say, in the middle, but by
the time it arrives over here in Florida it is southeast. Now, at
times in the winter, the Azores, Burmuda, and Palm may be
a little stronger than normal. At times it may move a little north
of its normal wintertime position, and we may get under the influence of
Trade Winds. even in the winter, and get a wind somewhere between
northeast and southeast. For example, right now
D: That's what we are having right now.
R: Yes, that's light. We're experiencing a comparatively warm and comparatively
rainy period and, in fact, it's unusually moist.
D: It's just like summer.
Except winds are from
D: ,the northeast instead of from the southeast.
R: That's right. So again we are actually getting a Trade Winds again.
in the middle of the winter.D:So.the winds that blow are the northeast
or southeast Trades? You won't hear about the Trade
Is it true that Trade Winds blow here or
R: Yes. It is so. truly a Trade Wi.nd. It is a fine steady wind. And
this is true particularly in the summer. In the winter it may be a
and you may have a
R: a little more variable, Continental Northwesterly Wind
when temperatures are below normal and or you may have the Trade Winds
when the temperatures get above normal, but throughout the summer, we're
in a Trade Winds regime. From day to day there is very little variation.
The winds are predominately from the northeast. Now, right over land and
immediately along the shoreline if the pressure gradients are weak, we may
during the night have a purely thermal wind which may be a land breeze.
R: But you go out to sea five or six miles and you get back into the Trade Winds.
Northeast, this is
D: Well, then, would it be correct then to say this is the.so-called Northeast
Trades?, except because we are far from this Azore-Bermuda High it is sort
of drifted down to the
R: Yes, sometimes. That is correct. In other words, in this clockwise
circulation we're way over on the let's see, it would be on the left hand
side and the winds have started to rotate northward on the west side of
D: In other words, what we really get here is to popularize it dreadfully.
These are the same Trade Winds that blew Columbus over here.
R: Exactly, that is where there is a Northeast Trade that he implanted
R: in the region of the Cape Birds,.the Canaries, there's this same
Northeast by East Trade that you encounter in San Juan, Puerto Rico
but by the time that they arrive at Florida they have turned just a
little bit and are^Southeast, but they are still Trade Wind s.
D: They are still the Trade Winds.
D: Well, that's what hung me up last time. Now listen, this is
as long as we're talking about. I'm fascinated with the weather.
Always have been, ad we do a good deal of boating. My husband and I
and I am very interested to know after we aside
Why is it that when we get here in the winter to a greater extent, but
even in summer the wind can be blowing in one direction here in Miami
for ten days, but the minute that you go out inthe Gulf stream
you can get an entirely different direction and intensity and wind.
And over the Gulf Stream which won't be blowing in the fall on the lake.
R: The reason for that is that the direction and the velocity of the wind
is produced by two principle factors: One, is the pressure gradient.
In other words, the difference in pressure between points of the North
and South and West. In other words, you have a pressure gradient and
the wind should in normal years proportionate to this pressure gradient.
In other words say that
D: There's a high pressure here
R: If you have high pressure at Jacksonville and much lower pressure at
Miami, you will have a strong easterly wind. Now, there's also,
a second factor, which determines wind direction and velocity and that's
known as the termal wind because air that is cold is heavy
Air that is warm is light because you are familiar with the circulations
inside a room ^ have heart heat. In other words, warm air being
lighter rises to the top.
D: Rises to the top.
R: Now,you can see that if you have mass that is heavy in one area and
another mass that is lighter, the heavier air is going to push the
lighter air out of the way. In other uords, the air that is heavy
exerts a certain pressure and will move the lighter air. So, over
the water and this is particularly true in the summertime and it is
even quite true in the wintertime that the air is homogeneous. That is,
it is the same temperature throughout. All right. Overland you
get the of heat in the daytime from the sun and
D: over the land
R: That's right. The heat absortant factor of a black surface.
R: is much greater than over a light surface, and it is also much greater
over land than it is over water. Now, also, at night the radiation
factor. That is, the loss of heat to the outer atmosphere works
the same way.
D: Greater on the land.
R: Much greater from a black surface than it is from a white surface.
And much greater from land than it is over water. so you have a much
greater variation in the temperature between day andnight over land
than you do over water, and you find even on Miami Beach that because
ofproximity to water that there's a much less variation in temperature
between day and than it is even a few miles inland. For example,
we have plenty of during the winter time when if the gradients
of light if it's a clear still night, something that is perfect for
radiation over land that the temperature in the agricultural areas
and around homestead will be thirty degrees lower than the temperature
at the same time on land at Miami Beach.
a little bit
D: Well, that is one of the questions that I was going to talk to^later on.
R: Coming back to your ortinal question:
R: The reason why, you'll find different winds out of the middle of the
Gulf Stream than you will one, two, three miles off shore is that
you have this thermal factor influencing the wind very close to land.
Then, in the middle of the day and during the heat
of the day, and in the cool morning hours whereas the thermal factor
is not present out of the middle of the Gulf Stream.
D: It's an extraordinary experience because you know, on Sundays when you
go out, ^see the Gulf Stream and the two waters where they meet
It's a very fine line and
at those places
D: And youoften have very sharp, thin line. You can see the winds the
way it's coming from one direction because it's quite amazing.
R: And this iswhy the various critics and the small boat people in the
sense that they never make a correct forecast because of the fact that
we simply cannot describe in a comparatively short marine forecast
these variations which they will encounter right close to shore and
what you will encounter out in the middle of the Gulf Stream.
In other words
you don't give them the good forecast.
D: Well, I listen religiously to broadcasts over WCT. Every morning
at seven thirty I tune in so I know all ^people. I mean, I know
their names like all these people
I've never seen.
D: You know Commodore Roseman's book on "Old Days in Coconut Grove". No,
I don't believe I do.
D: It is THE historical work on this area and he has some notes on South
R: Why don't I make a note of that. We have a certain amount of money to
add a few books to our library of the year.
D: Well, this is quite interesting and I think, for instance,
R: What's the name of this book "The Commodore's
You can get it through .. The publisher is
D: Well, wait a minute It'S BEEn redone by the Historical Association
D: You can just call them up, And he has some and he came here in
the.seventies and he was studying. He was writing some interesting
notes on South Florida climate. For instance, here's one: In 1917
I found three quarter inch thickness on an ^ water bucket in
Coconut Grove, and then, he talks about the great
that came down and were unable to
because the frost had nipped the insects, and he also, talks to
He discusses the entire weather. Some of the things and the frost line
and the whole bit. Now, I want to talk to ask you two questions:
for his background for this. I don't know exactly what the line, but
there is a line that is drawn from about Palm Beach southward,runs
from Palm Beach roughly, I believe, southwesterly direction, which is
trees won't grow.
a line beyond which certain^. go., "or instance the light trees,
and the mangoes you can grow them up to Palm Beach, but not further.
and you can grow them in Ft. Lauderdale and you can, grow them at
Homestead, but you can't just grow them in I don't
know exactly where the line is.
R: Yes. Yes.
D: Could you roughly indicate where this line is and explain what it is?
What it means?
I think that I have to say that I'm really unfamiliar with this line
And such line, I think would have to based on say on what some particular
trees would tolerate, but certain other trees, some citrus fruit trees
and so forth might tolerate. The line might be either further south
or further north. I don't think there is any magic line. We're not
positive that drought has ever occurred at Flamingo, but we think that
it has. It is our opinion that frost has occurred at one time or another
at Fredrick Point on the mainland of the United States. We know
that at least, within the past couple hundred years no frost has occurred
at Key West. Probably, no frost has occurred on manyFlorida Keys.
so Key Largo is, perhaps, a little unpleasant, a magic line across
certainly it is not a Frost Line, not a Freeze Line, that you have mentioned.
but apparently a certain two or three trees have been selected and a
point has been determined where they will or will not grow, dependent
upon the frost and the temperature, but you could select two or three
other trees and would put the line somewhere else.
D: Well, this maybe all new, but now how is frost defined for scientific
R: Well, frost is nothing more than frozen dew.
D: I mean would you define frost as the presence of frozen dew or do you
define frost as a 320 for a certain amount of moisture?
R: We must observe this frozen moisture on the plant's grass and so forth.
In other words, it really is frozen dew. If you want, I can look and
see what kind of glossary ^define it, but it is not. It does not
determine. We do not say frost has occurred even if the temperature
goes to twenty-eight unless we see this of frozen dew.
D: Why is that?
R: Well, because there is no frost. There's no visible frost unless you
are able to see it. For example,
D: That would mean that it would be different because on moist nights you
would be more apt to get frost than you would on a very cold
For instance, water comes down, but when it's dry you couldn't get
R: Yeah, but that is of no importance as far as vegetation is concerned.
The occunence or the non-occurrence of frost is not important, but the
occurrence or non-occurrence of freezing temperature. Well,
D: I'm confused because when you people give a frost warning,
I assumed that frost meant damage to plants.
R: Well, of course, if you have drought, it means that the temperature
is freezing, but you can also, have freezing temperatures without frost.
which will do just as much or even more damage.
D: I think, a frost line is kind of a
R: The mere existence of frost is not the important thing. I think. For
example, you get twenty or twenty-five mile an hour wind with the
temperature thrity-one and it's going to do much more damage to vegetation
It'o going to be a much greater freeze burn than say wind at all and
a deposit of frost with a temperature of thirty-one and actually the
D: I see.
frost may act as a bit of a protection to the plants sometimes the
in fact, usually, if there's no wind, even with frost there'll be less
damage to a plant than if there is no frost and
D: I think that the things that's confusing is the use of the words
implies the plant
"frost warning! and "frost line"^that the frost itself damages., you see.
When you think of the frost line, is that the line beyond which your
or is it a line of plant damage?
R: Well, I think that this time is used by the num more
than it is by the meteorologists, and I think the modern meteorologist
is using it in a broad sense. He's using "buck freezing" temperatures
and the actual occurrence of frost. let take a quick look here and
D: Well, I keep looking and I have to flip over this tape in half and
hour yet but I have to be conscious of this from time to time.
D: While you are looking at that, I am going to look here.
R: Actually, frost is a deposit of frozen water on plants. However, there
is a term black frost which does mean that freeze damage had occurred
without any deposit of what we call white frost.
D: Dw temperature
D: High winds?
R: Yeah. And then, the frost line is defined by the meteorologists as the
maximum depth of frozen ground during the winter.
R: Well, that's going at it in a little different way.
R: Not the way you are use to here.
D: In this book of Monroe's that you will be very interested in reading
incidentally, you will aijoy just for this reminiscences. Monroe was
an interesting fellow who came down here in the seventies and lived
in Coconut Grove and on Biscayne Bay and was a rather intelligent
fellow and simply observed everything from weather to Indians to
shipwrecks to the climate and groupings and so that you have a
very interesting record of what
and he had a theory which I had heard repeatedly up there was that the
warming affect of
was hat the warm ar affected he water implies not only to the Gulf
Stream, and to the Gulf of Mexico but to the great water
area on the so from here to quotes Monroe
saying so the frost line if there is such a mark moves spasmodically
down the state as drainage decreased the water area and apparently
influences the temperature and this so many of the old timersbelieve
but by the water on the Everglades, Ocheechobee, etc. and then, I
would like your professional opinion on that. Is that true or false
or don't know or
R: There's no question about it that if man is significantly modifying
his own climate. Well, with this respect to the drainage of the state?
as a whole has
Well, I would not say that the drainage of the state
made only a great difference in the position of say some so-called
frost line, but of course, the greatest water area is the Florida
Everglades. and I think that our drainage say along the eastern
edge of the Everglades and the drainage in this area from Palm Beach
on down to Florida city and so forth has undoubtedly significantly
modified our climate.a degree or two. In other words it's causing
daytime maximum temperature in summer to be higher. Minimum night time
temperature in the winter to say to be one or two degrees warmer.
R: Colder. Colder. Excuse me. Because of the fact that again we have
mentioned that since water -^at a slower rate than land
from the sun in the daytime and radiates heat to the outer at_-osphere
at a much slower rate at night that the temperature of the water is
comparatively conservative. Therefore, when temperatures are below
R: normal, it tends to modify it and in other words keep it closer
to normal and when the temperature is above normal, it again
modifies it, and it -keeps the temperature a little cooler than
it would otherwise be. so that few
reduction and that water area in the Glades. We are changing our climate
The quest nwe then encounter is
D: Yeah.. now significant and how great do you believe? Is it
just a question do you believe of a degree or two on the northern
and a degree or two on a hot summer day or
R: But I think at the present time that it is a matter of a degree or two.
either way, that is. A degree or two warmer in the summer and a
degree or two colder in the winter, but
if drainage continues, if more warm land, warm more of the Everglades
drainage this could increase still further.
D: Would it just be unfair to ask, opposing that we just take the Everglades
now and just get them as dry as a bone, how much do you think is the
best educated guess To me it's just a question, but a well Do you
think it would make a tremendous difference if we were to dzy up the
R: This would have to be an estimate.
R: I remember I made an effort to calculate Now, let's ..not talk about
averages, but let's talk say about an intrusion of a cold -in the
winter time, and I think that if the Everglades were entirely drained
and the ground was dry, that it would under certain conditions probably
might make a difference of five or six degrees. In other words
five or six degrees colder than one of these air mass intrusions in
the wintertime. And then, when in summer I think that it could easily
four or five degrees difference in the maximum temperature in the
middle of the day. Now, let me illustrate
D: Can I interrrupt you just one moment?
"TAPE BECOMES BLANK PAUSE HERE.
R: water. 'he number the warmish number of days with the temperature
ninety or higher increases from about four or five immedi ately along
the Bay Shore with something like sixty c seventy by the time you
reach the Miami airport.
D: And that Bay Shore at the Miami airport of Miami. That's
about Well, let's see thirty-six !Street Nw would be about what?
Four or five miles?
R: I'm inclined to ay five miles. I don't know what as far as that is
D: In other words there's about five degrees for the five miles?
I wouldn't say..
D: I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but it's in degrees.
It's a degree per mile, but in that particular area?
R: No, there's not that much difference say in the average maximum
temperature, but at there's a highly critically point in the comfort
of people say in a warm, moist summer. Say in a range of about eighty
-seven or eighty-eight degrees and there is this much difference as
to ether it's below ninety or whether it's above ninety in this
comparatively short period. Now, there's another factor, but
this isn't of course, the reason for it. It's a portion of the
reason, that we evaporation of moisture from precipitation which
had fallen previously is quite a practise in the formation of
new shower s
D: Huh, huh.
R: In other words, when precipitation had come down is re-evaporated
into the air why it is then dissolved again. Now, on an annual basis
the amount of precipitation increases at the rate of one inch per mile.
as you go inland from Miami Beach and until you get at least twenty miles
east inland and probably this rate continues to increase for some distance
D: In other words, the first the more you get into the .Everglades the
more it rains in the summer.
R: Yes. That's right. And now if the Everglades were completely drained
in it would mean a reduction in precipitation, and of course, all over
the United States. Not only true in Florida but all over the Unites States.
That fresh water is one of our most important natural resources. And,
eventually, as our population becomes greater and greater it
going to become even more important factor in so that drainage or
complete drainage of the Everglades would reduce annual precipitation.
D: Yes, the rain lasts and so you could get a vicious cycle and the
Everglades got very dry then it would be less re-evaporation so it would
rain less so they would simply become dryer and drier.
D: Now, I was going to talk just a minute I've been trying to think
of some way easily to explain the factor and it seems to^Anywqy, the way
I think of it. I always think of South Florida itself as
R: Which it is,too.
R: that's right.
D: Ocheechobee, Eveigades, St. Lucie, so you have this island which is
surround on three sides by water the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic,
and then when you get down to this little ridge here, we are living
by ridge I mean
D: We are really surrounded by on four side by water by the time you count
Lake Ocheechobee, and the Everglades so from what you were saying
air conditioning is really,blowing air over water to cool it.
R: Yes. Yes.
D: So that's why we have in a sense the natural air conditioning climate.
down here which explains why are much warmer We are much warmer
here than our latitude indicates. If we were on the mainland we would
have greater extremes of temperatures.
R: Yes, yes. Right.
D: If we were in the middle of land, although we are
spoken of as the subtropical, the Tropic going through Havana
approximately, although we are theoretically subtropical, practically
as far as the trees and bushes and things that are grown here, we are
semi-tropical, technically, We are more tropical that we ought to be
for our latitude.
R: Yes. From a chronological standpoint, we are subtropical. We're not
tropical because our winters are not tropical.
D: You mean we have tropical summers but not tropical winters?
R: Yeah. That's right so that's the reason that we end up with a subtropical,
D: Well, then,
D: The reason then that our winters are not tropical is because
we get these northern air masses?
R: Yeah. That's right. That's rights
And they can arise as they approach as they frequently do from the North
D: Hum, hum.
RP You can have rather an air trajectory all the way from you might say the
R: without being significantly modified as somewhat say by passing over the
Great Lakes, but they can arise here without passing over any significant
amount of water. Hum.
D: So evidentally, it was not fixed.
R: Now, the difference between say Floridaand India which say Calcutta, for
example, which is probably a little bit southwest, I believe, about latitude
twenty or twent;'-one.
D: We're twenty-five.
R: But you can go to latitude twenty-five in India and have areas where there's
not frost, and the reason for that is that the tremendously high Himalaya
Mountains or the air masses from Siberia "Trigamoo" southward. They can't
come over this tremendously high mountain range so they are deflected
eastward, and so that India never f the poor and strong air masses
that we receive.
D: In other words if we could build a mountain range around Tallahassee
R: Then, we would have the sqme climate as India.
D: Then, the answer to our question is going to be as I listen to your seven
thirty weather forecast every morning, winter and summer, I notice that
there is constantly a temperature variation between Miami and
D: airport five miles inland.
D: Between Miami and Miami Beach, and Miami Beach is always appreciably
coooler in the summer than the Miami at the airport and
R: Now, let's put it this way: It's cooler in the daytime, but it's actually
a little warmer at night.
D: Yes, I can see where that might be because
R: ^nd that is the reason why the temperature for the day may average out
about the same because the warmer night time temperature compensates
for the lower daytime temperature.
D: Yes, but the extrene. In other words there must make extremes.
R: Yes, that's right. The normal daily range of temperature is much less
at Miami Beach than it is at the airport.
D: And that's because it really truly is an island.
R: Yes, it is. That's right. The bay on the other side and of course,
the ocean on the other, and then, another thing is that again this
thermal effect which I have mentioned on winds is stronger over here
due to the cooling.night and heating in the daytime.than it is at
Miami Beach. so that we can have say in the winter time our winds
R: all night long be northwest over here coming off the land while
this radiation is going on and Miami Beach will have northeast coming
off the Gulf Stream.
D: So it's always
Well, I was very interested to see to hear at a scientific meeting
that I as in. It had noth ing to d weather actually, but in November
we were in New Orleans at the meeting of the Gulf Carribean Fishermen
and there was a gentleman for from the I forgot Louisianna, I think,
and he got up and he was talkihg about the Gulf of Mexico and he said
that you have to remember that this is not the averages, but the
extremes that control the environment.
R: Yes. Yes.
D: Which I went to great length to in
D: So not practically but theoretically^you have a plant that could tolerate
that was sensitive to certain that could withstand certain amounts of
extremes it might theoretically grow on Miami Beach where it could not
grow on the Bay Shore.
R: Yeah. Yeah.
D: could not grow further inland in Miami. Is there any question that
the weather has changed? You said that the weather bureau was founded
D: 1911. Has there been any indications of differences, true differences
in climate here between here and 1911 as far as your statistics show?
R: Uh. Yes. The answer to that would be "no". Now, we run into trouble
in trying to see if there are cycles of one sort or another and we know
that they are quite weak in definite cycles and these cycles had
different periods and these cycles are superimposed upon one another
but due to the fact that our location has been moved on the
average of about once every five years, it is useless to make
comparisons and say take even at the airport the new construction
the addition of runways That is anything in the way that man
builds, cement runways:, asphalts roads, they absorb heat at a higher
rate and man is so constantly changing the environment that unless
you have a station that has been out say in a rural section and for
a long period of time hasn't been changed. The comparisons are
R: So that is why we can never can come and tell some one exactly the
degree of change that has been brought about say by and
so forth, and that
D: That's eight because the bureau was down town and inthe
R: I remember when we were downtown that the location was changed three
or four times, and then, somebody comes along and bids a thirteen
story building between you and the Bay Front. Why a
D: Then, you've go it.
R: The conditions are changing.
R: For example, when the 1926 hurricane came along which was the most
intese intense hurricane that we ever had our anemometer on this three
story building didn't even measure the record hurricane winds, aid yet
the winds probably reached 150 miles per hour.
D: I11, that 's quite a bit of variation though. You and a hurricane, I
mean, and in places.
R: Well, it all depends on your exposure. For example, they vary
a lot between here and the airport because the airport anemometer
R: now the requirement is that it's an aviation requirement that it be
oh, six or eight feet off the ground. Well, we're up this much
higher so we required higher velocity, but even the velocities that
we record here are significantly less than you record on the ground
right on the beach.
D: During a hurricane.
R: Yeah, during a hurricane.
D: Well, I thought that we talk about hurricanes because everybody
is so interested in them, but before we do that, I want to you know,
a Last month, the Fish and Wildlife Preserves have been
beach and Bay and everything. He claimed that the sea has risen one
foot in the past seventy years. Sunday, wasn't it?
R: That's what you said.
D: Yeah, I mean, have you Is this news to you?
R: Well, I don't remember hearing that
D: But the climate generally Now, this has nothing to do with
specifically Florida but
D; But the climate generally has changed enough, I presume it's the Polar
D: Ice Caps or something that is melting.
R: Well, yes.
D: But it has raised the level of the sea one foot in the past seven years
because one foot as he points out at sea level mean a lot more than
D: More than
D: One foot.
R: Now, also, with that there is in most places a constant, of course, a
That is, it is not
very, very slow rise and fall of the land itself.
It might be that
constant now. there should be some contribution there, but
I would expect that the level of the Ocean would be rising some
because particularly in the thirties and the forties the temperatures
the world over were the warmest of any decade since we began
END OF SIDE ONE.
R: The temperatures average the world over were the warmest of any
decade or decades since we began actually measuring the temperature
with thermometer. Now, welnow of course, well, there have been
four space ages "no ice ages" known ice ages on the order of 150
million years apart and then of course, it warms up in between and
you have this interglacial period and that the level of the ocean
rises and falls with each change in temperature. Well, there's this
warning that has been going on particularly with warmth in the thirties
and the forties and I my glaciers were measured as retreated significantly.
That was some glaciers completely disappeared, and so that there
has been considerable melting of the ice both at the South Pole and
let's put it in the Anartic aui the Artic. I don't know whether
the melting took place at the poles or near the edges. So it would
not be surprising if the level of the ocean had risen a foot
in years. Now, if all of the ice in the Polar Region melted I think
the level of the ocean would rise sixty-five or seventy feet.
D: No, I think half the world or all the coastal cities would disappear.
R: At least, practically all of pennisula Florida would be covered
by water, which has happened in previous interglacial periods.
R: And presumably will happen again although I don't think you and I
will have to worry about that.
D: Nor do the hotel people on Miami Beach. ha!
D: Well, if the hurricane without, going into allthis business which
wHch during the day. The thing that interests laymen is
the fact that they are so irradic which there is a period here in
Miami that you had one hurricane a year every year for ten years.
back in the forties,wasn't it?
R: I don't believe so. No, I don't think that's right.
D: We had them in great frecuency once, wasn't it?
R: Yes, we have them with great frecuency.
D: And then, for a long time there weren't any.
R: But we had a twenty-year period. We had a hurricane in 1906 and then,
we didn't have another one until 1926.
D: Incidentally, that book of Commodore Monroe's goes into all this about
the big blow to Key West and the lower
R: One reason a lot of leaders keep from mentioning about hurricanes
during this period 1806 to 1900 when our records say in this area
you really don't know logically much different.
D: I always lood at that rule. So there was a twenty year lull so to speqk.
D: Between 1920 and 1926. Then, we had one a big one and then
there was not a lull because between '26 there were a number of
hurricanes in the forties but they were all rather light, and then,
we had Donna and Becky. What years were they?
R: Donna was sixty and Betsy was two years ago- 1965. Yes, Betsy was
D: The sixties. Although there were a number of hurricanes in the forties,
particular from 1960 there was a tremendous amount of development
as far as that was concerned. There were practically none.
R: I think the St4te of Florida is a We average .9 (point nine)
hurricanes per year. Almost one hurricane per year.
D: Uh, huh.
R: But it's going back to seventy-five or eighty years. Now during this
period 19- Well, let's take this period 1951 through 1963 that I
believe would be thirteen years.
D: That would twelve. No, inclusive
R: Inclusive would be thirteen years. Now, we should have expected, you
might say, twelve hurricanes over the states. We only had three. Now,
we expect a major hurricane in the states once every four years so that
R: within this year we should then have, my, three We only had one.
So that adually going back as far as our records are good,and we
consider that about 1885,though we may have missed one or two in
South Florida between 1885 and 1890 or 1900. This period
1951- 1963 was the most hurricane period on record.
D: Well, do you think that this indicates just merely the peculiar
differences between talking about aVerage and what happened ?
Or did they just run in cycles?
R: They just cycles, cycles. They're not regular cycles
they're random cycles.
D: So when you speak of them, you can expect on an average of one a year
does not mean that they are easily
R: Oh, no. .no. In fact, if you take anything of a meteorological nature,
while we talk of averages or normal, the weather is almost never normal.
Andthe averages mean nothing. That is you take .Miami, for example,
I can't give you this. This gives you say, at least, at the airport
a lot of averages and so forth. Say at the airport, I think, the average
is six inches of rain per year, but we had had as little as twenty-
two, and not in a calendar year, but taking twelve consecutive months
R: we have had over 100 inches, and probably not once in more than twenty-
five or thirty years you get a year that comes within a couple of
inches of the normal or the average rainfall.
D: Well, you mean they are sort of like people that there is no
average there, there is no average.
R: The average is that they are composed no: average or abnormal
D: Could you say that it's a really a little bit like gambling: In other
words if you have ever been at a card table and you watched It's
certainly true that over a period of seventy-two hours, your number,
your box cards might come up say within a certain frequency which can't
be mathematically calculated, but if it's a practical matter, it doesn't
come up that way. It comp' in streaks.
D: You have lucky streaks. You have winning streaks. You have winning
streaks. And does the weather work that way, tmo?
R: Yes, gain, this is nothing that a person should bet on, but nevertheless,
this tendency complex.
D: It pulls down everything else in S. Florida. why not that?
R: ha! ha! Probably, at least it's something over which no one has any control.
R: Here as horse races and some of these other things you might say that
it is possible to have some control.
D: I think this is interesting. I think we could start an absolutely new
the average rainfall for months.
R: Oh, there is a tendency here in Miami and even in South Florida, extreme
South Florida to have something on the order of three wet years and three
dry years every and so forth, a periodic
drought come along and There's quite a tendency y for them to last about
three years. There's somewhat less tendency to get three wet years
but you'll tend to have after three dry years, you'll have a period of
years at least two years ong that the rainfall is.now more close to
normal or above normal.
D: Well, extreme control environment. It's the
lack of extre mes here that has made this environment which in turn
makes the sunshine, which in turn makes the plants ,which in turn
pays the the hotels and the tourists and all this. Now, a hurricane
can come, but there's no like three years of hurricanes and three
non-years of hurricanes.
D: You don't know. It's just a gamble.
R: To anyone. And how about the years? For instance, it's
disastrous from the tourist point of view. Year in the winter of 1957,
'58? Are those equally random?
R: No. Yes. Yes. Now, of course, this year that you mention,
the coldest winter that Miami and extreme South Florida have ever
experienced although in this particular year we
did not have the lowest temperature. On several occ sions
we have had a lower temperature than we had obtained any time during
this period, but
D: A tremendous gap.
R: We had to have a day there for a long period that the temperature
never got up to normal. It was just cold day after day after day.
D: I know, but this was the first year that we came to Florida we lived
in a boat with a on it and on the first day^ I got up,
I went up to do something on deck and I tripped on the ice.
I slid on the deck on the ice and fell down. And there were periods of
weeks when it just blew and cold. They had the storm warnings up when
got so we called the Florida blast. Well, what did that?
D: I mean.
R: We can say what did it, and we come down finally to a point where
what caused that the feature of the general circulation and we have to
say that we don't know what caused it. Now, during this particular
year, we actually don't know whether the Gulf Stream causes certain
things or the Jet Stream is a result of other things.
D: There's a lot of talk about this jet stream. as far as I remember.
R: The most abnormal weather the greatest temperature normally and the
stormiest weather occurred under the jet stream because the jet stream
is found where you have the greatest concentration of temperature
gradient. Where the greatest temperature gradient occurred.
D: Oh, I see.
R: And, of course, it's right under that the weather is most active.
Now, during that year, or during that winter the jet stream which is
normally in winter is found along the Tennessee-Georgia border. That is,
in the longitude of Florida naturally south of Cuba.
R: Normally, that far south. Well, we had, of course, as far as the
of the atmosphere, an abnormal what recall
R: Meridianal Flow. Meridianal Flow is north south. Normal flow is
east west. In the^winter you have mostly zonal flow. Well, you have
D: Now, this apple to the jet stream?
R: Yeah, to the jet stream. It means that you have this sort of thing
whereas zonal flow is a straight west-east. Here you have this. This
means that in certain areas you're having strong flow from the north
Over here, you are having correspondingly strong flow from the south.
R: So that under this northerly flow, you, of course, which is bringing
air masses down from the Artic you will have a negative temperature
normally, which is what we have in this particular year, but then you
come and ask me why did we have that
R: We don't know, but these departures from the normal circulation
a We are unable to recast. We don't know the reason. We suspect
that at least the sun has some effect on it, but we don't know just how
this is brought about, and, of course, we say the sun probably
and that sort of thing.
referring more to sun spot activity. Well, also, there are some
R: Aside from the fact that you have these glacial efforts and these
interglacial periods, but the most important cycle is a forty to
forty-five year temperature cycle, known as the Bucknal cycle.
R: And of course, half ofthis you have above normal temperatures
and half of it will be below normal temperatures. In other words,
they would be up twenty to twenty-two or t went three year 3
it would be above normal, below normal, and so forth.
D: Well, does this correlate with some cycles?
as alWays. that
R: Yes, it correlates with those, Now, say^in the thirties and forties
well perhaps the warmest occasionally
we know that we had.unusually warm decadesthat we have been able to
measure in modern times.
D: Was this true parenthetically? Was this true only for Florida or
R: Oh, the world over, the world over. Of course, that doesn't mean
that during this period some winter or some year
D: No,NO. I mean
R: But on the average, now this warm trend was reversed around 1950.
D: Uh, hum. that
R: And if saywe
SIDE TWO ENDS UN: EXPECTEDLY HERE.