Current and future rainfall-driven flood risk from hurricanes in Puerto Rico under 1.5 and 2 °C climate change

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

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 on 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 the 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 and 2 inline-formulaC 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 a 5-year return period, with an increase in population exposure to flooding by 2 %–15 % and 1 %–20 % under 1.5 and 2 inline-formulaC futures (5-year return period). This research demonstrates the significance of the 1.5 inline-formulaC Paris Agreement goal for Small Island Developing States, providing the first event-based estimates of flooding from hurricane rainfall under climate change for a small island.

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Archer, Leanne / Neal, Jeffrey / Bates, Paul / et al: Current and future rainfall-driven flood risk from hurricanes in Puerto Rico under 1.5 and 2 °C climate change. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Leanne Archer et al.

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