Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014VI247B

Monitoring Precipitation Patterns and Erosion Indicators Across the St Thomas Microclimates

Institute: Virgin Islands
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $19,865 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: David Morris, Donald Drost, Michael Larson, Avram Primack, Raymond Torres

Abstract: An accurate and precise understanding of rainfall and erosion patterns with high spatial and temporal resolution is critical to a broad spectrum of the public sector, private sector, and academic projects of great interest to Caribbean prosperity, yet such data are only now becoming available in the USVI through our 2011-13 funded VI-WRRI grants, ``High-Resolution Mapping of Rainfall Rates Across the St. Thomas Microclimates'' and "Correlating Precipitation Patterns and Erosion Indicators Across the St. Thomas Microclimates''. Moreover, a unified approach to understanding the precipitation and erosion indicators on St. Thomas will provide valuable insight to a variety of topics including the water cycle of Caribbean islands, changes to the coral habitat, and the influence of land use patterns on erosion rates. While some historical data are available online through the US Geological Survey website, these data are, themselves, derived from only a few collection sites and are only now being updated through our ongoing research. As climate change modifies weather patterns across the Caribbean, a high-resolution database of precipitation and erosion indicators that accurately portrays the current water cycle behavior across the region will be critical to the next generation of construction and development planning as well as ongoing studies of coral habitats and fisheries. The response of the scientific community to our ongoing program has been enthusiastic and collaborations have been formed between UVI and other research institutions as a result (College of Charleston, University of South Carolina). We seek to leverage the work already completed and the investment already made to expand our understanding of the impact of global climate change on the Caribbean environment going forward. In this follow-up proposal, we seek funding 1) to maintain operation of the existing suite of sensors through the 2014-15 funding cycle and 2) continue ongoing analyses of new and historical Caribbean weather records as a probe of the effects of global climate change on the region.