Vulnerability to climate change of communities in the Río Piedras River Watershed: San Juan, Puerto Rico (2005-2105).

  • vulnerability

José Seguinot- Barbosa
Department of environmental Health
Graduate School of Public Health
Medical Sciences Campus
University of Puerto Rico
jose.seguinot @ upr.edu

ABSTRACT

The main purpose of this study was to measure the impact of sea level rise (SLR) and its effects on flooding and salinity in the different communities of Río Piedras River Basin. We also determined the perceptions of residents about the effects of SLR, salinity and floods over their health, property and quality of life. We tested and modeled the perceived situation against the existing reality for each community. For this analysis we used Digital elevation model (DEM) and Digital Line Graph (DLG) created by the USGS and other survey data collected in the field with a Global Positioning System (GPS), as well as data from a water sampling for salinity, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, particle size and soil salinity. Models were also created for SLR and were compared with those made by NASA. This study established the short-term (33 years) and long-term (100 years) vulnerability of communities to the impact of sea level rise and its effect on flooding. Vulnerability studies were carried out using interpolation, spatial regression and bivariate analysis. These analyses were performed using ArcGIS, Excel, Stata and EPINFO software programs. Communities with the highest level of vulnerability to climate change (CC) are: Ocean Park and Reparto Metropolitano. Communities with a lower index of vulnerability to climate change are: La Sierra and Las Curías. Communities with a higher index of vulnerability to SLR are: Ocean Park and Old San Juan. Communities with a lower index of vulnerability to SLR are: Las Curías and La Sierra.