Satellite images of Puerto Rico showing changes to land cover type before and after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Satellite imagery reveals that a large fraction of Puerto Rico landmass was forest (green in top image) but this was destroyed by Hurricane Maria and became barren land (black in bottom image). Credit: Hosannah et al. [2021], Figure 2
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

The devastating impact of Hurricane Maria on human life and infrastructure in Puerto Rico has been well reported; less known is her damage to the island’s physical landscape. Hosannah et al. [2021] reveal this damage using satellite observations and numerical model simulations. Nearly 40 per cent of the island’s forest was wiped out by Maria. In consequence, the energy budget at the land surface was considerably altered. This extensive damage to Puerto Rican forest will take years to recover, affecting not only the economy but also how the land interacts with the atmosphere on both weather and climate scales.

Citation: Hosannah, N., Ramamurthy, P., Marti, J., Munoz, J., & González, J. E. [2021]. Impacts of Hurricane Maria on land and convection modification over Puerto Rico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126, e2020JD032493.

—Chidong Zhang, Editor, JGR: Atmospheres

Text © 2021. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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