The Hispaniola Lakes Project

The island of Hispaniola holds the two largest landlocked bodies of water in the  Caribbean, Lakes Enriquillo and Azuei (also known as Lake Saumatre), with surface areas (as of March 2013) of approximately 350 km2 and 140 km2, respectively. These lakes are located in each of the two countries that share Hispaniola: the Dominican Republic (Enriquillo lake) and Haiti (Azuei). Since 2004, the lakes have experienced a rapid expansion in surface area causing major flooding to the surrounding agricultural and cattle-raising lands, infrastructure, and communities.

The main goal of this project is to understand why the lakes are expanding at such a rapid rate, so that we can accurately forecast how they will behave in the future. This information is crucial for sustaining local livelihoods and for informing decision makers on the best policy options to address this pressing problem. Also, we would like to share the lessons learned with the international community so the project can contribute to and benefit from knowledge gathered from similar situations worldwide.

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Puerto Rico 

Convection, Aerosol, and Synoptic-Effects in the Tropics (CAST)

In order to study the large and local scale contributions to convective storm production,
we launched the Convection, Aerosol, and Synoptic-Effects in the Tropics (CAST) experiment.
Based in Puerto Rico, CAST included measuremenCAST Panel2015ts from remote and ground-based sensors, including a three-channel LIDAR system, a ceilometer, multiple sunphotometers in the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET), soil moisture sensors, radiosondes, a disdrometer, surface weather stations, Next Generation Weather Radar System (NEXRAD), high resolution TropiNet radar, and satellite imagery. CAST provided an opportunity to understand how the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Saharan dust (SD), sea surface temperature (SST), vertical wind shear (VWS), the North Atlantic High Pressure (NAHP) acted along with local scale dynamics such as orography and local convergence to cause the most extreme Caribbean drought in recent history. CAST data (Figure 2) shows a highly convective but dry local environment.

Impacts of Land Cover/Land Use Changes in Coastal Tropical Regions under a Changing Environment

Tropical coastal areas represent an interesting case in which global, regional and local effects converge thru general atmospheric circulations, large urban centers, and pristine rain forests. Because of this unique combination of factors, tropical coastal regions, which represent a major part of the global biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000), require focused attention and provide the perfect setting to conduct total climate impact studies due to LCLU Change + Global Warming. The Northeast region of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico offers a unique opportunity as a test case for environmental change and climate impact studies because of the interaction in a limited geographical area between the San Juan Metropolitan Area, the Luquillo Experimental Forest (El Yunque), the Central Mountain range, and kilometers of developed and pristine coastline.