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What Type of "Microclimate" Would This Little Lake Island Have?


PalmTreeDude
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So the other day at a stop light I snapped a picture of a small island on a lake, the water around it is about 15 feet deep and this is in Virginia on the boarder of zone 7a/7b. I am wondering, if the very middle of this small island would have a solid zone 7b or maybe even a zone 7b/8a climate? It has a lot of canopy to protect from winds and everything, just a thought I had, I am curious to hear what other people say. 

 

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PalmTreeDude

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3 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

So the other day at a stop light I snapped a picture of a small island on a lake, the water around it is about 15 feet deep and this is in Virginia on the boarder of zone 7a/7b. I am wondering, if the very middle of this small island would have a solid zone 7b or maybe even a zone 7b/8a climate? It has a lot of canopy to protect from winds and everything, just a thought I had, I am curious to hear what other people say. 

 

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Not too much, I would think. I doubt that water is very warm in the winter, and there's very little surface area of water between the island and the shore. But I like the way you're thinking, and I've wondered whether an island in southeastern Lake Okeechobee might be able to push into 11a

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18 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Depends if the lake freezes over. :P

 

It is Virginia so yeah...

This lake gets frozen about 2 feet out from the shore sometimes and sometimes in a thin one or two inch lare on the top for a little while. But other than that, it is always moving. 

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PalmTreeDude

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2 hours ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

Not too much, I would think. I doubt that water is very warm in the winter, and there's very little surface area of water between the island and the shore. But I like the way you're thinking, and I've wondered whether an island in southeastern Lake Okeechobee might be able to push into 11a

Yeah, I like to look for any possible microclimates. It is Interesting! 

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PalmTreeDude

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  • 4 weeks later...

All other factors being equal, I believe the island would have (marginally) a slight better wintertime climate, whereas the nighttime low temperatures would be slightly higher until the water iced over -- as compared to the land away from the water.

I used to have relatives that lived in Virginia right on the Chesapeake Bay  (about five mile south of where the Potomac River empties into the bay. Their first frost date was normally not until sometime in December due to the relative warm water effect. But the water had the opposite effect come spring time, as the water was relatively cold, and the land away from the bay was warmer. I remember standing near the bay shore in spring and you could actually feel the cold of the water, as the cold water pulled the heat from the land (heat always flows to from hot to cold and not vice versa. Laws of physics).

 

 

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Mad about palms

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On 10/24/2016, 4:09:04, PalmTreeDude said:

So the other day at a stop light I snapped a picture of a small island on a lake, the water around it is about 15 feet deep and this is in Virginia on the boarder of zone 7a/7b. I am wondering, if the very middle of this small island would have a solid zone 7b or maybe even a zone 7b/8a climate? It has a lot of canopy to protect from winds and everything, just a thought I had, I am curious to hear what other people say. 

 

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I live in northern VA (far northwest Fairfax county) and I live directly on a lake.  The lake I live on appears to be much larger than the one you posted. (It's 24 acres)   It's deepest point is about 25 feet.   The water in winter gets very cold and it does freeze.  Usually in the harbor and coves first, but a good enough cold snap freezes most of it.  Winter of 14/15 was brutal here and the lake froze to a depth of about 7-10 inches.  I waked out in the middle of it.   

My lake offers very little to likely zero microclimate.   It's just not a big enough body of water. My hunch is that that small lake or large pond in your photo offers even less.   

Believe me I thought about microclimate immediately when I saw this place and then moved here.   The only place they exist are up next to decent siced buildings.    I think you need bodies of water that are substantially larger this far north to get any sort of microclimate out of it.   In this area that would be the tidal Potomac river.      

 

 

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I think it depends on how far north you are and what type of body of water it is.  The further south you are, a smaller shallower body of water has a decent effect on temperatures, but the further north you are, you would probably have to live on a much larger and deeper body of water to get any real water effect microclimate.  The exception would be for those who live along the south or southeast side of a spring fed river or larger spring fed creek.  Here in Texas, we have two large (by volume of water flow) spring fed rivers, the Comal in New Braunfels and the San Marcos in San Marcos.  The surrounding area near these towns is easily a low end 9A or even a high end 8B Climate, but right along the south or southeast side of these narrow but spring fed rivers, it is probably a solid 9B Climate, as the water temp is a constant 72F to 74F within these towns, but the further away from the springs the water flows, I am sure this warming effect significantly diminishes.

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On 11/27/2016, 11:29:44, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

I think it depends on how far north you are and what type of body of water it is.  The further south you are, a smaller shallower body of water has a decent effect on temperatures, but the further north you are, you would probably have to live on a much larger and deeper body of water to get any real water effect microclimate.  The exception would be for those who live along the south or southeast side of a spring fed river or larger spring fed creek.  Here in Texas, we have two large (by volume of water flow) spring fed rivers, the Comal in New Braunfels and the San Marcos in San Marcos.  The surrounding area near these towns is easily a low end 9A or even a high end 8B Climate, but right along the south or southeast side of these narrow but spring fed rivers, it is probably a solid 9B Climate, as the water temp is a constant 72F to 74F within these towns, but the further away from the springs the water flows, I am sure this warming effect significantly diminishes.

This is 12 miles south of Richmond. The lake this is on wraps around the other (right) side of the road, it is a big lake. The island isn't too far out though. 

PalmTreeDude

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On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎14‎:‎20‎, PalmTreeDude said:

This is 12 miles south of Richmond. The lake this is on wraps around the other (right) side of the road, it is a big lake. The island isn't too far out though. 

I admit I don't know Virginia that well, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that island could be 7b/8a, it being south of Richmond. Especially since people from that area claim Washington DC is basically 8a...

Mike in zone 6 Missouruh

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IMO, about the only benefit this lake would have, and only on the island and adjacent shore line, would be to extend the average first frost date later into the fall/winter season.

This would be due to the heat capacity of the lake water and its inertia. As cold fronts pushed through, the air temperature in proximity of the lake would drop very quickly, but not the water temperature (relative to the air).

I believe once the winter progresses and the lake water temperature starts to assume freezing or near freezing temperatures there would be, for all practical purpose, little or no lake effect (microclimate). In fact, once the water froze or dropped to near freezing, daytime high temperatures would actually be slightly lower on the island and shoreline, as heat from the air would then transfer to the colder water.

Down in my neck of the woods, here in Highlands County, Florida, I've read that the lake temperatures mostly stay in the high 60s during the winter months. So, if 25 degree air was to move in, that air (around the lakes) would be tempered/moderated upward, and from my observations maybe as much as 10 degrees. An exception to the afore was in December of 2010 when we had 11 straight days of  cold that eventually dropped lake temperatures to where the water provided much less beneficial heat. Still, it was far better than at my place with no lake effect at all.

 

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Mad about palms

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On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2016‎ ‎6‎:‎14‎:‎20‎, PalmTreeDude said:

This is 12 miles south of Richmond. The lake this is on wraps around the other (right) side of the road, it is a big lake. The island isn't too far out though. 

That far north, the island would probably have to be about 4 times further out from shore to have any real effect.

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  • 1 year later...

So here is kind of an update on this. So I am not sure about the little island, but the lake did actually have some effect on temperature on land around it at the start of our crazy winter storm. Thermometers right along the shore and about 100 meters inland, especially on the peninsula that goes into the lake, were a few degrees warmer than where I am (which is miles away). Until the lake did freeze over. Also, of course, their frost came way after ours in late Fall.  

Edited by PalmTreeDude

PalmTreeDude

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Very little effect, considering that it is relatively small, shallow, likely freezes over in the winter.  During the winter here in Florida, the weather cycles between warm and cool, so that the lakes retain some warmth, thus creating a micro-climate in proportion to its size.  In Virginia the winter does not cycle nearly as warm as it does in Florida.

I remember reading something about micro-climates involving lakes in Florida.  For every degree warmer during a freeze event, the lake has to be roughly one acre in size. 

Edited by Jimbean

Brevard County, Fl

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  • 2 weeks later...

It the water doesn't freeze than any foliage that overhangs the water will be the most protected. As long as it doesn't get too cold either. 

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  • 2 months later...

Here is about 1/4 of the rest of the lake. It is really big, the area you see in the picture with the island is just a little part that seems to reach out of the main lake. There are other islands too in the lake that I bet are very warm zone 7bs in the winter. Especially in the center where there is cover from the wind. 

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PalmTreeDude

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20 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Here is about 1/4 of the rest of the lake. It is really big, the area you see in the picture with the island is just a little part that seems to reach out of the main lake. There are other islands too in the lake that I bet are very warm zone 7bs in the winter. Especially in the center where there is cover from the wind. 

That lake is larger than I thought.

I would also bet on there being nice microclimates on them.

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I say you get on that island and plant something for fun...but thats just me lol.

LOWS 16/17 12F, 17/18 3F, 18/19 7F, 19/20 20F

Palms growing in my garden: Trachycarpus Fortunei, Chamaerops Humilis, Chamaerops Humilis var. Cerifera, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix, Sabal Palmetto 

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Some of the islands are farther out, but there are none dead center in the middle of the lake. I know that the bananas people plant around this lake will not die for about three to four weeks after the first frost.

When it starts to get chilly away from the lake, when you are by it in late fall it is really warm. 

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PalmTreeDude

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