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Impacts of Urbanization in the Coastal Tropical City of San Juan, Puerto RicoUrban sprawl in tropical locations is rapidly accelerating and it is more evident in islands where a large percentage of the population resides along the coasts. This paper focuses on the analysis of the impacts of land use and land cover for urbanization in the tropical coastal city of San Juan, in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. A mesoscale numerical model, the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), is used to study the impacts of land use for urbanization in the environment including specific characteristics of the urban heat island in the San Juan Metropolitan Area (SJMA), one of the most noticeable urban cores of the Caribbean. The research also makes use of the observations obtained during the airborne San Juan Atlas Mission. Surface and raw insonde data from the mission are used to validate the atmospheric model yielding satisfactory results. Airborne high resolution remote sensing data are used to update the model's surface characteristics in order to obtain a more accurate and detailed configuration of the SJMA and perform a climate impact analysis based on land cover/land use (LCLU) changes. The impact analysis showed that the presence of the urban landscape of San Juan has an impact reflected in higher air temperatures over the area occupied by the city, with positive values of up to 2.5 degrees C, for the simulations that have specified urban LCLU indexes in the model's bottom boundary. One interesting result of the impact analysis was the finding of a precipitation disturbance shown as a difference in total accumulated rainfall between the present urban landscape and with a potential natural vegetation, apparently induced by the presence of the urban area. Results indicate that the urban-enhanced cloud formation and precipitation development occur mainly downwind of the city, including the accumulated precipitation. This spatial pattern can be explained by the presence of a larger urbanized area in the southwest sector of the city, and of the approaching northeasterly trade winds.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Comarazamy, Daniel E. (Santa Clara Univ. CA, United States)
Gonzalez, Jorge E. (Santa Clara Univ. CA, United States)
Luvall, Jeffrey C. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Rickman, Douglass (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 29, 2013
Publication Date
September 8, 2007
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Meeting Information
7th Symposium on the Urban Environment(San Diego, CA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.