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Puerto Rico.


Dust, Rainfall, & Reefs- Understanding the Mechanisms (DRRUM) was selected as a recipient of an NSF NCAR Collaborative Opportunities for Research Engagement (CORE) award. 


The PI Dr. Nathhan Hosannah, Co-PI Dr. Ryan Mann-Hamilton and the research team will investigate the linkages between Saharan dust (SD), rainfall, and the connections/impacts on Puerto Rico’s coral reefs and society. Via the combined analysis of surface-atmospheric data and model tests (performed with the assistance of NCAR), the team aims to set up a series of experiments that will assist with answering the following fundamental research questions:

1) How do local convective processes contribute to rain budgets in coastal areas?

2) What is the quantifiable impact of Saharan dust on water quality, coral reefs, and marine-coastal tourism in Puerto Rico?

In order to address the above questions, the team must work to i) quantify the dust-imposed threats to weather and water quality (and the impacts on coral reefs), and to ii) quantify socio-economic impacts of dust events on coastal communities. Goal “i” will observational analysis and model development. The model should be surface atmospheric and account for several variables including Saharan dust and water quality data (i.e. turbidity) at climatological and sub-seasonal time scales. Goal “ii” must involve the implementation of ethnographic techniques and participant observations (surveys and interviews) to study the spatiotemporal impacts of Saharan dust on ecotourism-based activities related to coastal marine ecosystems. The short- and long-term effects of the Saharan dust on residents at different locations will be studied.

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