06 Oct 2023
 | 06 Oct 2023

Current and Future Rainfall-Driven Flood Risk From Hurricanes in Puerto Rico Under 1.5 °C and 2 °C Climate Change

Leanne Archer, Jeffrey Neal, Paul Bates, Emily Vosper, Dereka Carroll, Jeison Sosa, and Daniel Mitchell

Abstract. Flooding associated with Hurricane Maria in 2017 had devastating consequences for lives and livelihoods in Puerto Rico. Yet, an understanding of current and future flood risk in small islands like Puerto Rico is limited. Thus, efforts to build resilience to flooding associated with hurricanes remain constrained. Here, we take an event set of hurricane rainfall estimates from a synthetic hurricane rainfall simulator as the input to an event-based rainfall-driven flood inundation model using hydrodynamic code LISFLOOD-FP. Validation of our model against High Water Mark data for Hurricane Maria demonstrates the suitability of this model for estimating flood hazard in Puerto Rico. We produce event-based flood hazard and population exposure estimates for the present day, and the future under the 1.5 °C and 2 °C Paris Agreement goals. Population exposure to flooding from hurricane rainfall in Puerto Rico for the present day climate is approximately 8–10 % of the current population for 5-year return period, with an increase in population exposure to flooding by 2–15 % and 1–20 % under 1.5 °C and 2 °C futures (5-year return period). This research demonstrates the significance of the 1.5 °C Paris Agreement goal for Small Island Developing States, providing the first event-based estimates of flooding from hurricane rainfall under climate change in a small island.

Leanne Archer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1574', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Nov 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Leanne Archer, 10 Nov 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1574', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Nov 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Leanne Archer, 22 Nov 2023

Leanne Archer et al.


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Short summary
We model hurricane rainfall-driven flooding to assess how the number of people exposed to flooding changes in Puerto Rico under the 1.5 °C and 2 °C Paris Agreement Goals. Our analysis suggests 8–10 % of the population is currently exposed to flooding on average every 5 years, increasing by 2–15 % and 1–20 % at 1.5 °C and 2 °C. This has implications for adaptation to more extreme flooding in Puerto Rico and demonstrates that 1.5 °C climate change carries a significant increase in risk.