Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

October 1, 2018

Average annual temperature for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has increased by more than 1.5°F since 1950. Under a higher emissions pathway, historically unprecedented warming is projected by the end of the 21st century, including increases in extreme heat events.

Future changes in total precipitation are uncertain, but extreme precipitation is projected to increase, with associated increases in the intensity and frequency of flooding.

Sea level has risen by 0.6 inches per decade at San Juan, Puerto Rico since 1961, near the global sea level rise rate during the second half of the 20th century. Global sea level rise projections range from 1 to 8 feet by 2100, with similar rises projected for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rising sea levels pose widespread and continuing threats to both natural and built environments in coastal communities.

Hurricanes are a major threat to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hurricane rainfall rates, storm surge heights due to sea level rise, and the number of the strongest (Category 3, 4, and 5) hurricanes are all projected to increase in a warming climate.

Publication Year 2018
Title Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Authors Jennifer Runkle, Kenneth E. Kunkel, Laura E. Stevens, Sarah Champion, David Easterling, Adam Terando, Liqiang Sun, Brooke C. Stewart, Glenn Landers
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title NOAA State Climate Summaries
Series Number 149-PR
Index ID 70197909
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Climate Science Center