Climate Connections: Questions from Puerto Rico

Climate Connections: Questions from the Caribbean – San Juan, Puerto Rico [Music] Jessica Robertson: Welcome to USGS Climate Connections. I’m your host, Jessica Robertson. In this episode, our questions came from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let’s see what questions they had for our scientists. Lorana: Hi my name is Lorana, and I’m just wondering why the rainy season has taken longer than usual. Coral Roig-Silva: Hello Lorana, thanks for your question. My name is Coral Roig-Silva with the USGS. The amount of rain and length of precipitation varies from year to year. As the climate gets warmer, extended droughts broken up by intense storms may become the norm. Hurricanes may become more intense with stronger peak winds and may increase the rainfall in some areas. In Puerto Rico, the USGS Caribbean Water Science Center monitors groundwater levels, stream flow and precipitation. Go to their website to find out more information: Maria: Hello, my name is Maria De Azúa, and I live here in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and I do have a lot of questions. What about those solar tsunamis — is that for real? What can we do and what’s next? Jeffrey Love: Maria, thank you for your question about the sun and climate change. Your question about tsunamis, well, those are what scientists call solar storms. The sun is always emitting radiation and it also gives off a wind of electrically charged particles. When that happens abruptly, that’s what we call a solar storm. As for whether or not solar storms and magnetic storms are themselves responsible for recent climate change, that has not been definitively shown. The consensus among scientists is that the sun is not responsible for most recent climate change and it is we humans who are having the greatest impact. Mina: Hello, my name is Mina. We are in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I’m wondering if we are going to see polar bears anytime soon by the island because I know the ice caps are melting. Thank you.

Matthew Larsen: My name is Matt Larsen and I am the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change with the U.S. Geological Survey. We are unlikely ever to see polar bears swimming near Puerto Rico, but we are likely to see changes in other types of local fauna and flora. We may see different types of birds moving to that region. We may see different types of birds moving out as the changes in climate make it less hospitable for those animals. We may also see different types of plants that can no longer survive in an island climate that maybe gets more frequent droughts or more frequent storms. These are just some of the things that we anticipate in the Caribbean and we are already seeing in some parts of the world. Jessica Robertson: That’s it for this episode of USGS Climate Connections in Puerto Rico. We hope you join us again next time. [Music].