From snowstorms in the Northeastern part of the U.S to massive flooding in Colombia and Venezuela, 2010 has turned out to be a record year of extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. As of December 21st of this year, Puerto Rico received 88.6 inches of rain. This surpasses the 87.55 inches registered in 1931, making 2010 the year in which the island received the most amount of rainfall. Recently, there has also been a lot of seismic activity registered on the island, which lies on both the North American and Caribbean plates. Although they're small movements, ranging from 2.5 to 3 on the Richter scale, a 5.4 earthquake did hit the island on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, there were no injuries or serious damages reported.
Puerto Rico also emerged relatively unscathed this past hurricane season. However, as in many parts of the world, we've definitely been feeling the effects of climate change. In the San Juan metro area, we've had quite a few days where the high temperature has reached only into the low to mid-70 degrees Fahrenheit (about 22 degrees Celsius). The normal high for this time of the year is the low-80 degrees Fahrenheit. As it turns out, this cooling trend is taking place in many parts of of the world, most notably in the Eastern U.S and Europe this winter. I urge you to read the New York Times Op-Ed piece, "Bundle Up, It's Global Warming," to get a better understanding of the causes attributing to this worldwide phenomenon. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping my rain jacket and umbrella handy.
(Photo credit: Mariel Mejía Ortiz/El Nuevo Día)