Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, the easternmost and smallest of the Greater Antilles, is a mountainous island roughly 55 by 160 km in size. The island is characterized by an east-west mountain ridge terminating in the northeast in the Luquillo Mountains (maximum elevation 1075 m). The climate is subtropical, with significant variation (especially in precipitation) caused by the interaction of topography and the prevailing northeasterly trade winds. Major life zones include Subtropical Dry Forest (southwest), Subtropical Moist Forest (elsewhere at lower elevations), Subtropical Wet Forest and Rain Forest (higher elevations), and Lower Montane Wet Forest and Rain Forest (near highest summits) (Holdridge 1946; Ewel and Whitmore 1973).

Hurricane frequency in Puerto Rico is among the highest in the North Atlantic basin. Most storms approach from the east and southeast (figure 2.1b). Though hurricanes sometimes originate close to the island, the most intense storms often form off the west coast of Africa and approach Puerto Rico at or near maximum intensity. On rare occasions hurricanes reach category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (sustained wind speeds above 70 m/s), with devastating impacts on both human and natural systems. The mountainous topography of the island affects the overall intensity of hurricanes that make landfall as well as the extent of local protection from damaging winds (Boose et al. 1994, in press).

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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