Modeling Future Temperature and Precipitation for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Caribbean

Science Center Objects

While 21st century temperatures are projected to increase in Puerto Rico and the broader U.S. Caribbean (whose geography is contained within the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative, or CLCC), the low variability and already high annual average temperatures suggest that the largest climate-related impact on ecosystems and water resources is more likely to be through changes in the timin...

While 21st century temperatures are projected to increase in Puerto Rico and the broader U.S. Caribbean (whose geography is contained within the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative, or CLCC), the low variability and already high annual average temperatures suggest that the largest climate-related impact on ecosystems and water resources is more likely to be through changes in the timing, pattern, and availability of moisture. The development of adaptation strategies that respond to anthropogenic climate change for the CLCC, and particularly for Puerto Rico, is currently hindered by the lack of local-scale climate scenarios that resolve the complex topographical and meso-scale climate features that will mediate the island-wide response to the global anthropogenic climate forcing. The research team proposes to address these issues by developing a suite of dynamically downscaled, nonhydrostatic climate model projections for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Caribbean region. The framework provides a unique opportunity to examine climate change impacts on island ecosystems in a region of the global tropics with a highly dynamic climate regime. The resulting simulations will fill a critical need for climate change information in Puerto Rico and the broader U.S. Caribbean by enabling future estimates of likely deviations from known ranges of species’ thermal/moisture optima. This proposed work furthers scientific understanding of local responses to global climate change and lays the foundation for a decision analytic approach to climate adaptation in the Caribbean LCC.