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Climate of Extreme South Florida Truly Tropical?

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hbernstein

Aside from soil alkalinity and soil moisture consistency issues, the highly tropical species that are now "permanently" in residence in coastal South Florida absolutely indicate that the tropics have arrived, e.g. Breadfruit, Cyrtostachys,  Phoenicophorum, Verschaffeltia, Cyrtosperma (aroid), Angiopteris (fern). I'm ready to try a an Amherstia in the ground, if I can find one!

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Aceraceae

Here is a map of approximate cocos cultivation with little or no protection from 2018 on Wikipedia. It shows Tampa to Orlando covering inland areas and up to St. Augustine on the east coast. 

This may be overdone and based on some news press related to coconuts in St. Augustine some years ago. It also shows a lot of the Texas coast within range all the way up to Corpus Christi, and then after a break, around Galveston lol inland central florida and galveston is putting them in deep 9b to 9a, nearly New Orleans level cold. 

CoconutPalmsUS cocos palms range.png

Edited by Aceraceae
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Jimbean
3 hours ago, Aceraceae said:

Here is a map of approximate cocos cultivation with little or no protection from 2018 on Wikipedia. It shows Tampa to Orlando covering inland areas and up to St. Augustine on the east coast. 

This may be overdone and based on some news press related to coconuts in St. Augustine some years ago. It also shows a lot of the Texas coast within range all the way up to Corpus Christi, and then after a break, around Galveston lol inland central florida and galveston is putting them in deep 9b to 9a, nearly New Orleans level cold. 

CoconutPalmsUS cocos palms range.png

It also shows a bit of California too.  Clearly whoever made this map didn't know what they were doing.

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Yunder Wækraus

Coconuts don’t even a grow more than a mile or two inland from the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard.

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Jimbean
4 hours ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

Coconuts don’t even a grow more than a mile or two inland from the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard.

The red line is what I can confirm the greatest extent of pre-2010 coconuts.  The brown line is my best guess without being able to get observations. 

pre-2010 coconut range.png

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Xenon
9 hours ago, Aceraceae said:

Here is a map of approximate cocos cultivation with little or no protection from 2018 on Wikipedia. It shows Tampa to Orlando covering inland areas and up to St. Augustine on the east coast. 

This may be overdone and based on some news press related to coconuts in St. Augustine some years ago. It also shows a lot of the Texas coast within range all the way up to Corpus Christi, and then after a break, around Galveston lol inland central florida and galveston is putting them in deep 9b to 9a, nearly New Orleans level cold. 

 

Galveston is too cold for coconuts (especially the lack of winter heat) but it's nowhere near 9a, averages ~33F for 1991-2020, even 1992-2021 only knocks it down to ~32F. It's significantly warmer than even urban NOLA

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Moose

Let's talk Robert Halgrim, a rare tropical loving croton

20220120_121841.jpg

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Ubuntwo

About 90% of woody tree species native to South Florida hammocks originate from the Caribbean. These ecosystems share species associations with limestone forests of the Yucatan, Cuba, and the Bahamas. South Florida's pine rocklands are almost identical to Bahamian pineyards, with Pinus elliottii var. densa in place of Pinus caribaea (both species evolved from a common ancestor in Southern Mexico). Florida's buttonwood-mangrove communities are nearly identical to those throughout the neotropics.

curry-thrinax.thumb.jpg.a1b4b6466eb8b8f688be4ebfa77e6ef7.jpg

mexico-thrinax.jpg.53af2b1909cc3ad2ef742dc00009ee50.jpg

Florida Keys Thatch Palm Hammock/Yucatan Coastal Dry Forest

pineyard.PNG.6fce6312f1758384d27974ab24cc4572.PNG

rockland1.thumb.PNG.25fb4f03e898daf6b7bdde04670a9a64.PNG

874275637_brittlethatch.thumb.PNG.4a7562bc7b3c254b0437717d6300bc28.PNG

Bahamian Pineyard/FL Everglades Rockland/FL Keys Rockland

usvidryforest.jpeg.f1bfbb698b07b93e87d9bde2fb41cef3.jpegbahamascoppice2.jpg.28ce9275e23d46f3f17dd302ad65033b.jpg

IMG_3722.thumb.jpeg.5dbfbf29b5a4286aa1cd5aeac515faf6.jpegclosedforestkeys.jpg.8c81381897bef35a45f85d3e614f8dbc.jpg

USVI Dry Forest/Bahamas Coppice/SFL Hammock/FL Keys Hammock

The vegetation of extreme Southern Florida (south of Homestead) and the Keys is fully tropical. Temperate bayheads and cypress domes mean the rest of SFL's vegetation is semi tropical. Tropical coastal hammocks can be found as far north as the Cape/St. Pete, but diversity drops off quickly inland.

 

Edited by Ubuntwo
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Alicante

I'll give my opinion. I'm neutral as I'm European. For me, everything south of Miami is solid Tropical. The Everglades are a tropical swamp and the Keys are 100% Caribbean Tropical.

Miami Beach promenades are filled with giant coconuts that give ripe fruits every year. SE North America is very prone to extreme cold spells due to the lack of natural protection, if Miami got few times under 0ºC/32F that doesn't remove it from the fact that it's really tropical. I mean, how on Earth is this anything else than Tropical? 

20910341-los-%C3%A1rboles-de-coco-de-pal
e48-1809871.jpg
impulsi-n-del-parque-y-oc-ano-de-lummus-

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Jimbean

The Keys are fully tropical, the redlands are very close but there is a subtle difference if you are looking at the plant species compared to the Keys and the Bahamas.

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Aceraceae
7 hours ago, Alicante said:

For me, everything south of Miami is solid Tropical.

Careful, everything south of miami is colder than miami until the keys. The rural homestead areas, the glades, and SW florida are all colder than miami/beach/fort lauderdale. 

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Ubuntwo
5 hours ago, Jimbean said:

The Keys are fully tropical, the redlands are very close but there is a subtle difference if you are looking at the plant species compared to the Keys and the Bahamas.

There is definite temperate influence down to the southern Glades. Taylor slough has cypress forests within 15 miles of the coast. I would say the only fully tropical area in mainland Florida is directly along the Florida Bay coast. The hammocks are dominated by thatch palms, tropical hardwoods, with an absence of oaks. Mangroves are better developed there than anywhere else in the state, 60’-70’ in spots.

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richtrav

In Tamaulipas there is “tropical” forest even where it can freeze deep into the tropics in extreme events like 1989. This is a map of the lowest temperatures in December 1989 in southeastern Tamaulipas from Soto la Marina to Tampico, as taken from data available from the Mexican government. While you could argue some of the thermometers may have been off here or there, in the aggregate it leaves little doubt as to how severe that event was. The lowest readings came on Dec 24, the last night of the freeze during a radiational event. To the east of the coastal road connecting Soto to Tampico (180) there was once tropical forest but most of it was cleared in the second half of the 20th century. Some of the more tender trees that had been spared the axe still showed cold damage years after the freeze, particularly towards their northern limits just above the Tropic. Red mangroves and gumbo limbo in many cases had to regenerate north of the tropic from seed, I don’t even remember seeing Bursera close to Soto until the 2000s. 

Dec 24 1989 SE Tamaulipas.jpg

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greysrigging

The Tale of Two Tropical Cities
Miami, Florida 25.78*N
Capture.thumb.JPG.b70d99492e155bbbf9bf4eef30ed4baf.JPG
Townsville, Queensland 19.15*S
300383231_Capture.JPG1.JPG.b70fdc1d5d69da1416b0bfdfb8a8c36a.JPG

Very similar means max and mins. Miami much wetter ( we call Townsville 'Brownsville" due to its unreliable rainfall )
Townsville has hotter extreme max temps, Miami colder extreme min temps. 
Both cities are quintessentially 'tropical'.

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Jimbean
2 hours ago, richtrav said:

In Tamaulipas there is “tropical” forest even where it can freeze deep into the tropics in extreme events like 1989. This is a map of the lowest temperatures in December 1989 in southeastern Tamaulipas from Soto la Marina to Tampico, as taken from data available from the Mexican government. While you could argue some of the thermometers may have been off here or there, in the aggregate it leaves little doubt as to how severe that event was. The lowest readings came on Dec 24, the last night of the freeze during a radiational event. To the east of the coastal road connecting Soto to Tampico (180) there was once tropical forest but most of it was cleared in the second half of the 20th century. Some of the more tender trees that had been spared the axe still showed cold damage years after the freeze, particularly towards their northern limits just above the Tropic. Red mangroves and gumbo limbo in many cases had to regenerate north of the tropic from seed, I don’t even remember seeing Bursera close to Soto until the 2000s. 

Dec 24 1989 SE Tamaulipas.jpg

That's fascinating

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chinandega81
3 hours ago, richtrav said:

In Tamaulipas there is “tropical” forest even where it can freeze deep into the tropics in extreme events like 1989. This is a map of the lowest temperatures in December 1989 in southeastern Tamaulipas from Soto la Marina to Tampico, as taken from data available from the Mexican government. While you could argue some of the thermometers may have been off here or there, in the aggregate it leaves little doubt as to how severe that event was. The lowest readings came on Dec 24, the last night of the freeze during a radiational event. To the east of the coastal road connecting Soto to Tampico (180) there was once tropical forest but most of it was cleared in the second half of the 20th century. Some of the more tender trees that had been spared the axe still showed cold damage years after the freeze, particularly towards their northern limits just above the Tropic. Red mangroves and gumbo limbo in many cases had to regenerate north of the tropic from seed, I don’t even remember seeing Bursera close to Soto until the 2000s. 

Dec 24 1989 SE Tamaulipas.jpg

Wow, that's awesome, thank you. I was looking at google streetview and there are recent (September) pics from Abasolo, Tamaulipas and almost all of the tropical almond trees and tabebuia roseas have branch tip die back seemingly from last February's cold that bled in from Texas. It must have gotten below freezing there in that event or stayed near that for quite some time. The royal palms and coconuts had grown back their crowns fully by September though. Tamaulipas is very analagous to Florida, just juxtaposed further south. I always wonder how far south the cold really makes it, and it's hard to tell because information is scarce south of Tampico and I don't know how high the elevation is going south. From what I gather, the cold makes it as far south as Veracruz, just highly modified.

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SouthernFL_Boy
3 hours ago, greysrigging said:

The Tale of Two Tropical Cities
Miami, Florida 25.78*N
Capture.thumb.JPG.b70d99492e155bbbf9bf4eef30ed4baf.JPG
Townsville, Queensland 19.15*S
300383231_Capture.JPG1.JPG.b70fdc1d5d69da1416b0bfdfb8a8c36a.JPG

Very similar means max and mins. Miami much wetter ( we call Townsville 'Brownsville" due to its unreliable rainfall )
Townsville has hotter extreme max temps, Miami colder extreme min temps. 
Both cities are quintessentially 'tropical'.

Townsville compares more to Homestead, FL then miami very interesting though.....Homestead and Townsville are both Tropical savanna's there's no doubt South Florida is truly tropical especially after seeing that southern FL compares very well to places within the tropics rather then subtropical places 

hideClimate data for Homestead, Florida (Miami Homestead General Aviation Airport), 1991-2020 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 77.5
(25.3)
79.5
(26.4)
81.8
(27.7)
85.5
(29.7)
88.4
(31.3)
90.8
(32.7)
92.0
(33.3)
92.1
(33.4)
91.0
(32.8)
87.5
(30.8)
82.5
(28.1)
79.2
(26.2)
85.6
(29.8)
Daily mean °F (°C) 66.4
(19.1)
68.0
(20.0)
70.4
(21.3)
74.3
(23.5)
78.2
(25.7)
81.7
(27.6)
82.9
(28.3)
83.2
(28.4)
82.4
(28.0)
78.9
(26.1)
73.0
(22.8)
69.0
(20.6)
75.7
(24.3)
Average low °F (°C) 55.3
(12.9)
56.6
(13.7)
59.0
(15.0)
63.2
(17.3)
68.1
(20.1)
72.7
(22.6)
73.8
(23.2)
74.3
(23.5)
73.9
(23.3)
70.4
(21.3)
63.4
(17.4)
58.7
(14.8)
65.8
(18.8)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.70
(43)
2.01
(51)
2.05
(52)
2.92
(74)
5.77
(147)
9.34
(237)
7.14
(181)
10.17
(258)
8.63
(219)
5.86
(149)
2.34
(59)
1.97
(50)
59.90
(1,521)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.1 6.6 5.9 6.2 11.4 18.1 17.2 18.8 18.5 12.4 8.0 8.7 138.9
Source: NOAA[7][8]
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richtrav
8 hours ago, chinandega81 said:

Wow, that's awesome, thank you. I was looking at google streetview and there are recent (September) pics from Abasolo, Tamaulipas and almost all of the tropical almond trees and tabebuia roseas have branch tip die back seemingly from last February's cold that bled in from Texas. It must have gotten below freezing there in that event or stayed near that for quite some time. The royal palms and coconuts had grown back their crowns fully by September though. Tamaulipas is very analagous to Florida, just juxtaposed further south. I always wonder how far south the cold really makes it, and it's hard to tell because information is scarce south of Tampico and I don't know how high the elevation is going south. From what I gather, the cold makes it as far south as Veracruz, just highly modified.

It does blow right through Veracruz also, but the freezes become rarer and lighter and eventually go away. Lots of cool drizzly weather when big fronts pass through, they are trapped between the Gulf and some seriously high mountains just to their west which can keep the clouds locked in for long periods. 

This past year the advective freeze in February petered out around Cd Victoria, where they dropped to 32 the morning of the 15th and held there for several hours. I think Tampico didn’t drop below 40. If you see cold damage in the tropics that was probably from a radiation freeze on Christmas morning 2020 in colder pockets. Royals and coconuts look fine around Victoria and Soto la Marina, it appears they did not go lower than 32 in town.

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chinandega81
57 minutes ago, richtrav said:

It does blow right through Veracruz also, but the freezes become rarer and lighter and eventually go away. Lots of cool drizzly weather when big fronts pass through, they are trapped between the Gulf and some seriously high mountains just to their west which can keep the clouds locked in for long periods. 

This past year the advective freeze in February petered out around Cd Victoria, where they dropped to 32 the morning of the 15th and held there for several hours. I think Tampico didn’t drop below 40. If you see cold damage in the tropics that was probably from a radiation freeze on Christmas morning 2020 in colder pockets. Royals and coconuts look fine around Victoria and Soto la Marina, it appears they did not go lower than 32 in town.

I have noticed thaat the southern end of the Gulf gets locked into clouds when a major front comes through. and presumably the cloudcover helps keep it "cool" with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s and cloudy and drizzly for a week even into Tabasco lowlands. Of course they can also plow through the Yucatan peninsula and even onto the north coast of Honduras with similar yet more moderated effects. To me it seems that fronts peter out more east to west vs north to south. Due east of say Veracruz would be Jamaica, Haiti, DR, PR etc and those locations rarely have a frontal passage or prolonged cloud cover from fronts.

As much as we complain about TX being exposed to brutal cold, the tropics of Mexico, below the tropic of cancer, truely are at a huge disadvantage at low elevations in the winter if you have tropical or ultra tropical vegetation. I would be interested in knowing how far south along the Gulf coast sporadic frosts ocurrs somewhat frequently if you happen to know?

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philinsydney

According to Windy.com, the cold fronts blow straight through into the Pacific just below Veracruz. Therefore, they don't affect areas further east such as Belize or Campeche.

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richtrav

In the coastal lowlands it appears the Poza Rica area of Veracruz is about as far south as freezes have been recorded. And yes the Yucatan is milder in the winter since they are free of the overrunning that comes with frontal passages on the Gulf. Merida is particularly warm, their average January high is something crazy like 87.

Radiational frosts in the lowlands Tamaulipas occur every few years in low spots about as far south as the Llera area near the Sierra Madre and north of Aldama closer to the coast. I remember Dec 2004 produced some frost dieback around Llera and east of Barra del Tordo but nothing extreme.

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Silas_Sancona
6 minutes ago, philinsydney said:

According to Windy.com, the cold fronts blow straight through into the Pacific just below Veracruz. Therefore, they don't affect areas further east such as Belize or Campeche.

Depends on the orientation, and what circulation patterns are set up over Southern ..or Southwestern Mexico..

Ultimately, yes, there can be situations where the  western  " side " of a front diving south through the Gulf of Mexico can creep west ( or southwest ) over the southern end of the Mex. Plateau / Mountains and bring a wind shift / maybe extra clouds, showers to the Pacific side of the continent.

We can experience similar, " Back Door "- type fronts that head west into Arizona.. and, even though it is rare, reach California / Northern Baja ( would produce an episode of offshore winds there )  when a strong enough front spilling south over the front of the S. Rockies is strong enough to push cold air over the higher terrain between west TX. and lower elevation areas of AZ - west of Tucson-

That said, a good portion of that energy plowing south through the Gulf of MEX. will still head east / southeast and bring some degree of greatly modified air to the Yucatan ..maybe even Belize.  Water ( in the Gulf/ adjacent Caribbean Sea ) stays fairly mild down there year round, so no, they wouldn't necessarily see a freeze or frost..

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richtrav
18 minutes ago, philinsydney said:

According to Windy.com, the cold fronts blow straight through into the Pacific just below Veracruz. Therefore, they don't affect areas further east such as Belize or Campeche.

Oh big ones can, but since they have to cross over the Gulf of Mexico they are greatly modified by the time they reach the easternmost parts of Mexico. If they all just went due south then Florida would never have anything to worry about. 

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Aceraceae

In the late January 2022 cold front inland south florida had frost and freeze even tho miami didn't go below 40. Miami has a tropical UHI including a coastal boost in rainfall that apparently some cities create while other UHIs such as Phoenix destroy (UHI warm air rising causing storms vs UHI lower humidity thunderstorm vanishing effect)

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Silas_Sancona
37 minutes ago, Aceraceae said:

In the late January 2022 cold front inland south florida had frost and freeze even tho miami didn't go below 40. Miami has a tropical UHI including a coastal boost in rainfall that apparently some cities create while other UHIs such as Phoenix destroy (UHI warm air rising causing storms vs UHI lower humidity thunderstorm vanishing effect)

...Not sure that is truth..   Some research has suggested the UHI here may actually enhance summer storms downwind, under proper conditions.. That said, there are other factors < that still need to be better studied >, that may ( ..or may not ) adversely effect storm development here during the summer,  that may have a direct,  human caused component.. 

What really puts the kibash on storms here?  ...is when the 4 corners, subtropical high pressure that wanders north, up the Mexican Plateau/ Sierra Madre Occidental  sits overhead, or just to the southeast, cutting off southerly / s. easterly flow out of Mexico, Texas and New Mexico / Gulf of Mexico, ..and the Gulf of CA/ Sea of Cortez..  Trading that favorable moisture laden wind flow for a dry southwesterly flow from California / the Pacific, or  Northerly flow from the dry interior of the Great Basin. Was what shut off our Monsoon season in 2019 and, much more dramatically, in 2020.

Last year was the complete opposite. LOTS of rain, due to the the " just about textbook ",  ideal  arrangement of how the core of the 4 corners high set up ( to the north/ northwest of AZ ). 



 

Edited by Silas_Sancona
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Yunder Wækraus

Remember, folks are using the word "tropic(al)" in different ways. Strictly speaking, no, no part of FL is within the tropics, which are defined as those areas south of the Tropic of Cancer and north of the Tropic of Capricorn. As I'm sure all of you know, the tropics are the only parts of earth where for at least one day each year the sun is directly overhead. Obviously, there are border areas. South Florida has many native tropical plants (most of them recent colonizers from the true tropics in the Caribbean), and fewer native tropical animals (mostly birds and marine species). Non-native tropicals do well because S. Florida is near the tropics, enjoys the benefits of the Gulf Stream, sits on a peninsula with actual tropical waters less than 100 miles south, and has no mountains to shed cold air down to the lowlands during winter nights. (Of course, the same lack of mountains means there's no protection from northern winds and no banana-belt zones where frost can never, ever happen.)

So, no, Florida is not tropical! Now, many of you are referring to the climate zones, of which one is "tropical" irrespective of an area's actual geographical location within or without the tropics. This is NOT the core meaning of the word "tropic(al)." It is an semantic extension of the real meaning of the word: many plants and animals and weather patterns are more commonly found in the tropics, so these life forms and phenomena are deemed "tropical." Thus, the "tropical" climate type is based on average temperatures and rainfall, etc. In that sense, South Florida is truly "tropical."

Last year, I took two of my teenage sons in our 4-wheel drive on the 12-hour drive from our home, in the true tropics of Australia, to the Iron Range, a fragment of ancient rainforest that lies even deeper in the tropics. Every hour of this drive was within the true tropics, but for most of the drive, all plants were eucalpyts in dry, open woodlands. Even on the Archer River, where the magnificent Palm Cockatoo lives, there were zero wild palms. Most of the drive through the true tropics of Australia could be a dry piece of land in Santa Barbara County, California--the "tropical" vegetation didn't look too "tropical."

All of the foregoing comments seem to be debating the climate type, which IS "tropical" in the sense that native flora and fauna include species more commonly associated with actual "tropical" locations. Beyond that climate-based analysis, there is no argument: Florida is not tropical--the sun will never be completely overhead on any day of the year.

https://www.britannica.com/place/Tropic-of-Cancer

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sarasota alex
On 1/20/2022 at 1:14 AM, Aceraceae said:

Here is a map of approximate cocos cultivation with little or no protection from 2018 on Wikipedia. It shows Tampa to Orlando covering inland areas and up to St. Augustine on the east coast. 

This may be overdone and based on some news press related to coconuts in St. Augustine some years ago. It also shows a lot of the Texas coast within range all the way up to Corpus Christi, and then after a break, around Galveston lol inland central florida and galveston is putting them in deep 9b to 9a, nearly New Orleans level cold. 

CoconutPalmsUS cocos palms range.png

This western part of this map is all wrong. There is no way a Coconut would make it on the Catalina Island. Not with their low daytime highs most of the year. I would also remove green from the Coastal San Diego. It really take a special microclimate there. On the other hand Coachella Valley and Gila River Valley from Phoenix to Yuma should be green.

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sarasota alex

I think the point of this thread is missed by many. The question is not whether South Florida is in the Tropics. The question is, whether the CLIMATE of South Florida is tropical. The answer to the latter question is Yes. And it's not subject to interpretation. There is a clear scientific definition of what a "tropical" climate means and the Miami area fits the bill. Latitude don't matter here. When North Carolina gets hit by a Tropical Storm, it's still called a Tropical storm, even though it's far north of the actual tropics, because the classification of a storm is unrelated to classification of latitudes in this case. Although there is an obvious relationship between the two. Also places like Hong Kong, have a subtropical climate, even though it's in the Tropics.

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Silas_Sancona
37 minutes ago, sarasota alex said:

This western part of this map is all wrong. There is no way a Coconut would make it on the Catalina Island. Not with their low daytime highs most of the year. I would also remove green from the Coastal San Diego. It really take a special microclimate there. On the other hand Coachella Valley and Gila River Valley from Phoenix to Yuma should be green.

:lol:!  Forget good looking coconuts  anywhere in the " no man's land " desert  between Phoenix and Yuma..  Wayy too hot / dry, and no water, ..that a majority of people would be willing to waste on them.

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Yunder Wækraus
52 minutes ago, sarasota alex said:

I think the point of this thread is missed by many. The question is not whether South Florida is in the Tropics. The question is, whether the CLIMATE of South Florida is tropical. The answer to the latter question is Yes. And it's not subject to interpretation. There is a clear scientific definition of what a "tropical" climate means and the Miami area fits the bill. Latitude don't matter here. When North Carolina gets hit by a Tropical Storm, it's still called a Tropical storm, even though it's far north of the actual tropics, because the classification of a storm is unrelated to classification of latitudes in this case. Although there is an obvious relationship between the two. Also places like Hong Kong, have a subtropical climate, even though it's in the Tropics.

In fairness, you're making a linguistic argument that has some merits but is not the final word. Tropical cyclones are generally only termed as such if they originate in the tropics. In this sense, that of origin, Florida has tropical flora (e.g. royal palms and gumbo-limbo trees) and tropical fauna (e.g. American crocodiles and frigate birds). It also has subtropical flora and fauna that many Americans treat as tropical (e.g. the American alligator, which cannot survive in the true tropics). The use of "tropical" to refer to a climate that generally allows a subset of tropical flora to survive for most of a human lifetime is a common one in colloquial English and is also used in many formal climate classifications.

In the end, the most accurate statement (and the only one supported by all scientific angles) is this: Florida is not a tropical location, but parts of it do have a largely tropical climate. No part of mainland Florida is as temperate as equivalent habitats in the actual tropics (e.g. flat peninsula surrounded by warm waters), but parts of South Florida are equivalent to truly tropical regions with less protection from non-tropical cold intrusion (e.g. parts of Mexico). Extreme SE Florida and the lower Keys are capable of supporting many tropical plants for the length of a human lifetime, but the threat of frost on the mainland is still much greater than even temperate areas well outside the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere.

(For those who don't know, I was born in S. Florida, where my family has lived for approximately 100 years. We were from the Everglades, but most folks have moved to other parts of Florida. After many years away from my homeland, I returned to a barrier island in Brevard County (solid 10a~10b), where relatives have lived for ~60 years. We grew papaya, coconuts, various palms, etc.--truly tropical plants. I am intensely proud of my Florida heritage and the uniqueness of my state, but I am under no illusions that it is truly tropical. I have spent time in Thailand, Cambodia, the Yucatan, Papua New Guinea, and live in the Wet Tropics of Australia. Nothing in Florida compares to the climate to be found at equivalent elevation and access to ocean water anywhere in the true tropics.)

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bubba

Updating you on the “lip of the lake” during the Florida artic incursion in January 2022. No helicopters necessary to protect winter corn crop! Not tropical but some things grow tropical!

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chinandega81
6 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

:lol:!  Forget good looking coconuts  anywhere in the " no man's land " desert  between Phoenix and Yuma..  Wayy too hot / dry, and no water, ..that a majority of people would be willing to waste on them.

Also, that river valley is usually the coldest part of SW AZ. Due to being so low, it easily gets into the 20s when a strong cold front comes through on a yearly basis. The warm areas that could theoretically support coconuts in this region would actually be locations at a higher elevation above cold air drainage. For example, Yuma is on a ridge or plateau sloghtly above the river valley. This keeps Yuma consistently in the mid to upper 30s at the coldest most winters while nearby farms in the river valley sink to the 20s. 

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Silas_Sancona
1 hour ago, chinandega81 said:

Also, that river valley is usually the coldest part of SW AZ. Due to being so low, it easily gets into the 20s when a strong cold front comes through on a yearly basis. The warm areas that could theoretically support coconuts in this region would actually be locations at a higher elevation above cold air drainage. For example, Yuma is on a ridge or plateau sloghtly above the river valley. This keeps Yuma consistently in the mid to upper 30s at the coldest most winters while nearby farms in the river valley sink to the 20s. 

That's a good point ..though i think more mature ones might survive in the spots where it only briefly dips into the highest 20s during such events..  Likely wouldn't look great though.

I myself think our heat / lack of much ( if any ) humidity -most of the year-, and lack of ample water would be the bigger challenges.. and certainly wouldn't be worth growing any myself.. Not when you have other options with a similar look/ feel that will do better ( Becarriophoenix < hopefully >, Mules, ..even < cough > Phoenix palms,  ..possibly some others )  

I personally would be aiming to plant as many Cuban and Caribbean- type palms as i could  if i had the space, in an optimal area here.. rather than obsess over trying to grow Coconuts in the desert.. ( members on another forum who think everyone in Phoenix should be planting them..  :rolleyes: )

Area around Palm Springs / the Salton Sea ..and some select areas closer near the coast around S. Cal. are better ( ..albeit still very marginal, - for the time being -at least-... ) for obsessing over all the coconuts one might be able to obsess over..

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sarasota alex

Occasional 20's are not nearly as much of an issue as a lack of the appropriate daytime highs for coconuts. The original map included Catalina Island likely because of the thinking that zone 11 equals good climate for coconuts, which is far from reality. That's actually a problem with the coastal SoCal and most of the Mediterranean. Much of Phoenix on the other has the right daytime temps. With right irrigation, coconuts in Phoenix could look almost as good as they do in Dubai, which gets half the rainfall that Phoenix gets.

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Ubuntwo

This might be relevant - broadleaf forest zones in Florida:
classifications.thumb.PNG.919bba3d64e957db20bb4d162368d507.PNG

Edited by Ubuntwo
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chinandega81
8 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

That's a good point ..though i think more mature ones might survive in the spots where it only briefly dips into the highest 20s during such events..  Likely wouldn't look great though.

I myself think our heat / lack of much ( if any ) humidity -most of the year-, and lack of ample water would be the bigger challenges.. and certainly wouldn't be worth growing any myself.. Not when you have other options with a similar look/ feel that will do better ( Becarriophoenix < hopefully >, Mules, ..even < cough > Phoenix palms,  ..possibly some others )  

I personally would be aiming to plant as many Cuban and Caribbean- type palms as i could  if i had the space, in an optimal area here.. rather than obsess over trying to grow Coconuts in the desert.. ( members on another forum who think everyone in Phoenix should be planting them..  :rolleyes: )

Area around Palm Springs / the Salton Sea ..and some select areas closer near the coast around S. Cal. are better ( ..albeit still very marginal, - for the time being -at least-... ) for obsessing over all the coconuts one might be able to obsess over..

I can tell you the area of Mexicali/Imperial Valley and Yuma have much higher and more frequent humidity than PHX throughout the summer. Unfortunately the trade off is it's hotter and drier. It is really tough for coconuts in that area. The few around, and by few I mean one in Salton Sea and one cut down in Mxli never have looked great IMO. More sad looking and you feel bad for them...

The Coachella Valley is a similar story but I think there was a fruiting one there that was also removed and there is still one more in La Quinta cove IIRC. Very marginal but surviveable. I think Royal Palms should be much more widely planted throughout the lower desert and Socal. If there is enough water for Queen Palms, why not for a Royal Palm?

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Jimbean
1 hour ago, Ubuntwo said:

This might be relevant - broadleaf forest zones in Florida:
classifications.thumb.PNG.919bba3d64e957db20bb4d162368d507.PNG

I have video and picture recordings of zones TBEF, TBEF/TRF, and TRF/TBEF if anyone is interested.  Those zones vaguely correspond to the map I drew on this thread:

 

 

1369420668_Newzones.thumb.png.c7d98cd172bdc02befddbd69599131e4.png

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Silas_Sancona
7 minutes ago, chinandega81 said:

I can tell you the area of Mexicali/Imperial Valley and Yuma have much higher and more frequent humidity than PHX throughout the summer. Unfortunately the trade off is it's hotter and drier. It is really tough for coconuts in that area. The few around, and by few I mean one in Salton Sea and one cut down in Mxli never have looked great IMO. More sad looking and you feel bad for them...

The Coachella Valley is a similar story but I think there was a fruiting one there that was also removed and there is still one more in La Quinta cove IIRC. Very marginal but surviveable. I think Royal Palms should be much more widely planted throughout the lower desert and Socal. If there is enough water for Queen Palms, why not for a Royal Palm?

That is true.. Have seen humidity readings exceed 70 or 80% on certain days during the height of Monsoon Season when the " gulf Door " is wide open.. May have been last summer, but think there was a day or two the humidity was something like 80% w/ temps over 105F..  That doesn't sound appealing at- all, lol..  Definitely far less rainfall down there than the little bit Phoenix gets.

The one saving grace about the Palm Springs area is that there are times when at least some marine -ish air can get through the Banning Pass and perhaps modify things -just a hair- compared to here, or, even more so, down my Yuma and Mexicali..  That tiny effect might help Coconuts there ( and stuff like Plumeria..  Have yet to see any large - sized specimens anywhere here, in full sun at east ) 

Remember seeing some sort of Chamaedorea growing in a planter box -exposed to at least morning to mid- morning sun, outside a gas station there in Palm Springs on one of my trips out here when i lived in San Jose.  Never seen anything like that here.

Agree, if someone here is going to irrigate a large palm that at least provides that coco-nutty / tropical feel, plant a Royal instead of a Queen..  Hopefully Beccariophoenix shows exceptional tolerance to the heat / low humidity here as those in member's collections gain size.  Would love to see Buccaneers suddenly start appearing in both residential and some nicer commercial landscapes in ideal parts of the valley as well..

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Ubuntwo
34 minutes ago, Jimbean said:

I have video and picture recordings of zones TBEF, TBEF/TRF, and TRF/TBEF if anyone is interested.  Those zones vaguely correspond to the map I drew on this thread:

 

TBEF/TRF Quercus-Sabal forest w/ understory of tropical shrubs:

IMG_3854.thumb.jpg.1a264ba3ddcfde8915052e8a17cb662d.jpg

TRF/TBEF Tropical hardwood forest w/ scattered oaks and Sabals (in this case the more 'temperate' species):

IMG_20190120_125204.thumb.jpg.00bf1bcbb5e1cc6f2beb18a9bd268208.jpg

 

Edited by Ubuntwo
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Yunder Wækraus
On 1/21/2022 at 12:56 AM, Jimbean said:

The red line is what I can confirm the greatest extent of pre-2010 coconuts.  The brown line is my best guess without being able to get observations. 

pre-2010 coconut range.png

I lived in Indialantic, and healthy coconuts that predated the late 1980s, were functionally missing from neighborhoods once you left the lagoon shoreline in Melbourne and Palm Bay. One of my cousins, who grew up in Satellite Beach, moved to Palm Bay ~20 years ago, but well inland. He loves the tropical plants around which he was raised (he also lived in the Keys and the Bahamas), but coconuts and many other favored plants could not survive in his Palm Bay neighborhood. I'm sure there are spots where a coconut might survive for decades with the right protection, but only the island(s) are really capable of holding them in perpetuity. I have seen those who claim they all died on "Barrier Island" (which is, believe it or not, the official name for the island) during the freezes in the 1980s. I have family who have lived continuously on the island since before the moon landing, and that was news to them. I also had a neighbor in Indialantic who'd lived in the same house since the early '80s and kept coconuts the entire time. He never lost a single one to a freeze (though they were damaged by some), but he DID lose them to micro-bursts during hurricanes. Despite the danger from wind and freeze, there were a few large coconuts in our neighborhood that clearly predated the worst freezes of the 1980s. Of course, there is nothing on Brevard's barrier islands that compares to the oldest coconunts to be seen in Pahokee :)

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