With a population density of almost 449 inhabitants per km2 and 56% of its population living in the coastal municipalities, Puerto Rico’s population is highly vulnerable to hazards; particularly, those who are economically disadvantaged, less prepared, and under social inequitable conditions, such as insufficient infrastructure and services. Today, more than half of the population lives in the San Juan Metropolitan Area. The coastal zone of the San Juan Metropolitan Area as well as other coastal areas is where most hotels, essential infrastructure, and electric power plants are located (some power plants are less than 160 feet from the waterline and less than six feet above sea level). Rapid urbanization that occurred during past decades has drastically covered Puerto Rico’s watersheds with impervious surfaces. As a result, there are thousands of people living in flood-prone areas. Landslide hazards are also a growing concern in Puerto Rico. Bursts of heavy rainfall from intense storms trigger numerous landslides in the mountain areas of the island every year, causing substantial property damage and sometimes loss of life. (Puerto Rico Climate Change Council, 2015).
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.