Puerto Rico Climate Change
In terms of climate change, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is particularly vulnerable in the United States. Due to its location as an island in the hurricane belt, Puerto Rico is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and strong storms. Hurricanes have wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico in recent years, and their intensity and frequency are growing as global temperatures rise (IPCC, 2014). In reality, since the 1950s, the island’s temperature has risen more than one degree Fahrenheit, and the water temperature has climbed nearly two degrees Fahrenheit (Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). Warmer oceans provide the energy for more powerful hurricanes to impact the island, which is quite concerning.
Puerto Rico Climate Background
Puerto Rico has a hot-humid tropical climate, with average annual temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius and evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. The months of May through October, on the other hand, are the wettest. August is the wettest month. The months of January to April are the driest.
Different weather conditions occur on the two sides of the island due to effects from the Atlantic Ocean. The north coast receives the most rain on the island, averaging 1,400–2,000 mm per year, while the south coast receives 1,000 mm per year on average. The southwest region is much dryer, with annual rainfall averaging around 400 mm. The interior mountains receive the most rainfall, ranging between 3,000 and 4,000 mm per year. Between August and November, the island was struck by hurricanes.
Temperatures are pleasant. Throughout the year, average maximum temperatures range from 29 to 27 degrees Celsius, while average minimum temperatures range from 21 to 24 degrees Celsius.
The temperature of the sea water varies from 26 degrees Celsius in January to March to 29 degrees Celsius in September and October.
Puerto Rico Climate
Since 1900, annual and monthly average temperatures have risen by 0.012° – 0.014°C.
The temperature trend of San Juan is higher than the rest of the island, with an average annual increase of 0.022°C since 1900.
There has been a higher frequency of days with maximum temperatures of 32.2°C or higher, and a smaller frequency of days with maximum temperatures of 23.9°C or below. Approximately 100 days with temperatures equal to or above 32.2°C were seen in 2010 and 2011, which is the same amount of days observed per decade from 1900 to 1949.
The southern area of Puerto Rico has seen an increase in annual rainfall, whereas the western and northern regions have seen a reduction.
Summer has seen negative trends, whereas winter has seen good trends. The destructive capacity of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, as evaluated by the Power Dissipation Index, has increased in tandem with rising Atlantic sea surface temperatures.
Puerto Rico Climate Change
Weather and climate have a direct impact on water supply. In addition to the crucial water input from precipitation on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, evapotranspiration losses must be considered. High temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds, in particular, can effectively remove water from the land surface. Water demand is also predicted to vary as a result of climate change, particularly as it relates to rapidly changing demographic and economic conditions. The water sector faces increased operational problems and risk as a result of these changes.
At the local and regional level, climate variability and change affect irrigation, crops and land management, animals, rural transportation, storage, and processing. Climate change is increasing the hazards and functioning as a threat multiplier, especially in terms of water supply and changes in the thermal environment. Climate change is manifesting itself in many regions as higher moisture changes, increased dryness when dry, and increased wetness when wet.
Puerto Rico Climate Change and Disasters
When compared to disasters on the mainland of the United States, the island fared well. Even before the 2017 hurricanes, environmental injustice was a problem in Puerto Rico, but the territory’s treatment by the US government has brought it to the forefront. the widespread aspect of Puerto Rico’s environmental injustice (Brown, 2018). Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastated Florida and Texas in 2017, the same year that Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency records, the federal government responded to these disasters in Texas and Florida faster with more first responders to assist, and the US spent more federal money on restoring both Texas and Florida than it did on restoring Puerto Rico (Wilson, 2019). The differing hurricane reactions were not based on the intensity of the storms or the amount of relief required. The way the US responds to each of these natural catastrophes, in locations where everyone is entitled to the same amount of relief from the US government, demonstrates how Puerto Ricans are particularly vulnerable to environmental injustice.
Puerto Rico Climate and Drought Disaster
Despite the fact that Puerto Ricans are receiving tremendous rain, the island is experiencing less cumulative rainfall each year as a result of anthropogenic climate change, resulting in a drought (Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). As a result, Puerto Ricans are suffering from severe droughts across the island. The island’s biodiversity has suffered as a result of the drought (Santiago & Gallon, 2018).
Drought conditions in Puerto Rico have made it difficult for many residents to find clean water during heavy hurricanes. Climate scientists expect that low rainfall will become more common as a result of climate change, and changing temperatures are influencing Puerto Rico’s overall precipitation. Droughts in Puerto Rico will have a direct impact on the people, as a shortage of safe drinking water poses a significant health risk. Furthermore, the drought is jeopardizing the health of the tropical rainforest, which has a severe influence on the island’s economy and quality of life.
Puerto Rico Climate Sea Level Rise and Disasters
Globally, rising sea levels are a major worry. Since 1960, the sea level in Puerto Rico has risen four inches, and it is anticipated to climb one inch every 15 years (Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). The residents of Puerto Rico, particularly those who live on the shore, face a threat from increasing sea levels, as their homes will be more likely to flood. Flood insurance premiums are anticipated to rise for individuals who live near water, increasing the cost of living on the coast (Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). In fact, if hurricanes continue to grow in number and strength, flood insurance may become impossible to obtain in some places.
Furthermore, due to rising sea levels, cultural heritage sites in Puerto Rico are in risk of being damaged or becoming submerged. Currently, twenty-seven cultural heritage sites in Puerto Rico are flooded at high tide, and 140 sites are anticipated to be flooded by the end of the century (Ezcurra & Rivera-Collazo, 2018). To summarize, increasing sea levels pose a threat to Puerto Rico’s culturally protected places, particularly if safeguards are not taken to keep ocean water away from these historic sites.
recentclimate – Puerto Rico Climate Change