were a part of the most expensive hurricane season in U.S. history. Damage estimates easily exceed $200 billion. Puerto Rico is no stranger to hurricanes, but in 2017 its people, infrastructure, and ecosystems were ravaged by Irma and Maria. While challenges associated with loss of life and infrastructure were vigorously reported, new research presented this week at the 2018 American Geophysical Union reveals something surprising and of concern. Hurricanes are having long-term impacts on watersheds and coastal ecosystems.

The usually tranquil Quebrada Sonadora stream, one of the study sites for the aquatic sensors, now raging with rushing, muddy water just after a storm.William McDowell/UNH

 

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADVERTISEMENT

The findings, reported in Washington, D.C. this week, show very high levels of nitrate in watersheds and streams of Puerto Rico almost a year after Hurricane Irma and Maria, respectively. Ok, what is nitrate? Nitrate is an essential plant nutrient. Professor William McDowell is one of the lead authors of the study and an environmental science professor at the University of New Hampshire. McDowell is just one of many scientists that have been working in Puerto Rico as a part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) co-located Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) and Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. In a press release issued by the school, McDowell notes 

Nitrate is important for plant growth but this is a case where you can have too much of a good thing..The levels of nitrate we were seeing were unusually high. Over the last three decades, we’ve noticed elevated levels of nitrate right after a hurricane, but after these back-to-back major storms, the wheels came off the bus. We saw an increase in the nitrate levels that still has not fully recovered

 I am sure many of you reading this may be thinking, “So what?”

The Nitrogen CycleNOAA

The “so what” is that high nitrate levels affect how forests recover and pose a significant threat to ecosystems along Puerto Rico’s coastline by stimulating more dead zones and algal blooms. Earth has many important cycles. Most people are familiar with the water cycle or the carbon cycle. However, the nitrogen cycle (like the carbon cycle) is a critical biogeochemical cycle. Using special sensors in the streams of the Luquillo Mountains, scientists were surprised to see how high base levels of nitrate were almost a year after the 2017 hurricanes.

If we connect the dots, it is clear why scientists worry about a “new normal” for base level nitrates. McDowell says, “if this continues and the mountain streams transport these higher levels of nitrate to the ocean it could disrupt the coastal ecosystem, possibly endangering coral and other sea life.” Unfortunately, the nitrate “new normal” may not be the only one in town. The University of New Hampshire press release goes on to say:

Also of concern is forest productivity. Based on previous studies and observations at the Luquillo study site, the historical frequency of major hurricane direct hits on the island was estimated to be every 50-60 years. But recent records show that it is now happening once every 10 years. With this increase in frequency and storm strength, much greater export of nitrate to nitrogen-limited coastal waters can be expected than previously estimated, which could deplete the standing stocks of nitrate in the forest and have uncertain effects on forest productivity and regrowth.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADVERTISEMENT

Aerial photo of the coastline of Puerto Rico that shows one of the many streams and rivers that lead down from the mountains to the ocean.William McDowell/UNH

And if these impacts are not worrisome enough, Dr. Paul Miller, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Georgia, provides some additional food for thought (or concern). Miller, who will join the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University in January, was not involved in the most recent study. He and colleague Professor Thomas Mote have been investigating the impact of extreme events in the same region. Miller warns,

Increased nitrate concentrations may only be one of several hydrological consequences of the 2017 hurricanes. For example, the reduction in vegetation coincided with altered cloud patterns and rainfall over the Puerto Rico as well as suspended sediment increases in coastal estuaries. The working hypothesis is that, while adding nitrate to the stream system, the defoliated landscape allows more rainfall to reach the forest floor while simultaneously reducing the moisture re-emitted into the atmosphere through plant transpiration.
The feedbacks that Dr. Miller describe are no different than the complexity in our own bodies. We have various systems that affect each other and is why we get comprehensive medical check-ups. Using one of the world’s longest records of stream chemistry, the New Hampshire scientists working gave Puerto Rico’s ecosystems a check-up. Not surprisingly, they reveal the complexity of ecosystems and why studying the atmosphere, forests, oceans, streams, and land cover as a connected system is essential.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADVERTISEMENT

Aquatic sensors are used in streams like this one, Quebrada Sonadora, which is one of the study sites in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico where researchers monitored nitrate levels before and after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.William McDowell/UNH

” readability=”79.10283371948″>
< div _ ngcontent-c14 ="" innerhtml="

The Atlantic cyclone season of(************************************************** )provided us names that we will keep in mind for a very long time. Storms like Harvey, Irma, and Maria belonged of the most pricey cyclone season in U.S. history. Damage approximates quickly go beyond $200 billion. Puerto Rico is no complete stranger to cyclones, however in 2017 its individuals, facilities, and environments were wrecked by Irma and Maria. While obstacles connected with death and facilities were strongly reported, brand-new research study provided today at the 2018 American Geophysical Union exposes something unexpected and of issue. Hurricanes are having long-lasting influence on watersheds and seaside environments.

The normally relaxing Quebrada Sonadora stream, among the research study websites for the water sensing units, now raving with hurrying, muddy water simply after a storm. William McDowell/UNH

POST CONTINUES AFTER AD

(* )The findings, reported in Washington, D.C. this week, reveal extremely high levels of nitrate in watersheds and streams of Puerto Rico nearly a year after Typhoon Irma and Maria, respectively. Ok, what is nitrate? Nitrate is a vital plant nutrient. Teacher William McDowell is among the lead authors of the research study and an ecological science teacher at the University of New Hampshire. McDowell is simply among numerous researchers that have actually been operating in Puerto Rico as a part of the National Science Structure (NSF) co-located Luquillo Crucial Zone Observatory(CZO) and Long-Term Ecological Research Study(LTER) websites. In a news release provided by the school, McDowell notes

Nitrate is essential for plant development however this is a case where you can have too much of an excellent thing. The levels of nitrate we were seeing were uncommonly high. Over the last 3 years, we have actually observed raised levels of nitrate right after a typhoon, however after these back-to-back significant storms, the wheels came off the bus. We saw a boost in the nitrate levels that still has not completely recuperated

I make sure a lot of you reading this might be believing, “So what?”

(********** )

The Nitrogen Cycle NOAA(**************** )

(*********** )

(*********** )

The” so what “is that high nitrate levels impact how forests recuperate and present a considerable hazard to environments along Puerto Rico’s shoreline by promoting more dead zones and algal blossoms. Earth has numerous crucial cycles. Many people recognize with the water cycle or the carbon cycle. Nevertheless, the nitrogen cycle( like the carbon cycle) is a crucial biogeochemical cycle. Utilizing unique sensing units in the streams of the Luquillo Mountains, researchers were shocked to see how high base levels of nitrate were nearly a year after the 2017 cyclones.

(***************************** )

If we link the dots, it is clear why researchers fret about a” brand-new typical” for base level nitrates. McDowell states, “i f this continues and the mountain streams carry these greater levels of nitrate to the ocean it might interrupt the seaside community, perhaps threatening coral and other sea life.” Regrettably, the nitrate “brand-new typical” might not be the only one in the area. The University of New Hampshire news release goes on to state:

Likewise of issue is forest efficiency. Based upon previous research studies and observations at the Luquillo research study website, the historic frequency of significant cyclone direct hits on the island was approximated to be every 50-60 years. However current records reveal that it is now occurring as soon as every 10 years. With this boost in frequency and storm strength, much higher export of nitrate to nitrogen-limited seaside waters can be anticipated than formerly approximated, which might diminish the standing stocks of nitrate in the forest and have unsure impacts on forest efficiency and regrowth.

POST CONTINUES AFTER AD

(******************************
)

(*******************************

)

(************ )(************* )(************** )Aerial image of the shoreline of Puerto Rico that reveals among the numerous streams and rivers that lead below the mountains to the ocean. William McDowell/UNH

(*********** )

And if these effects are not uneasy enough, Dr. Paul Miller, a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Georgia, supplies some extra something to chew on (or issue). Miller, who will sign up with the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University in January, was not associated with the most current research study. He and coworker Teacher Thomas Mote have actually been examining the effect of severe occasions in the very same area. Miller alerts,

Increased nitrate concentrations might just be among a number of hydrological effects of the 2017 cyclones. For example, the decrease in plant life accompanied transformed cloud patterns and rains over the Puerto Rico in addition to suspended sediment boosts in seaside estuaries. The working hypothesis is that, while including nitrate to the stream system, the defoliated landscape permits more rains to reach the forest flooring while at the same time decreasing the wetness re-emitted into the environment through plant transpiration.

(************************** )

The feedbacks that Dr. Miller explain are no various than the intricacy in our own bodies. We have different systems that impact each other and is why we get thorough medical check-ups. Utilizing among the world’s longest records of stream chemistry, the New Hampshire researchers working provided Puerto Rico’s environments a check-up. Not remarkably, they expose the intricacy of environments and why studying the environment, forests, oceans, streams, and land cover as a linked system is vital.
POST CONTINUES AFTER AD

Marine sensing units are utilized in streams like this one, Quebrada Sonadora, which is among the research study websites in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico where scientists kept an eye on nitrate levels prior to and after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. William McDowell/UNH

” readability =”79
10283371948″ >

The Atlantic cyclone season of 2017 provided us names that we will keep in mind for a very long time. Storms like Harvey, Irma, and Maria belonged of the most pricey cyclone season in U.S. history. Damage approximates quickly go beyond $ 200 billion. Puerto Rico is no complete stranger to cyclones, however in 2017 its individuals, facilities, and environments were wrecked by Irma and Maria. While obstacles connected with death and facilities were strongly reported, brand-new research study provided today at the 2018 American Geophysical Union exposes something unexpected and of issue. Hurricanes are having long-lasting influence on watersheds and seaside environments.

.

.

The normally relaxing Quebrada Sonadora stream, among the research study websites for the water sensing units, now raving with hurrying, muddy water simply after a storm. William McDowell/UNH

.

.

.

POST CONTINUES AFTER AD

.

The findings, reported in Washington, D.C. today, reveal extremely high levels of nitrate in watersheds and streams of Puerto Rico nearly a year after Typhoon Irma and Maria, respectively. Ok, what is nitrate? Nitrate is a vital plant nutrient. Teacher William McDowell is among the lead authors of the research study and an ecological science teacher at the University of New Hampshire. McDowell is simply among numerous researchers that have actually been operating in Puerto Rico as a part of the National Science Structure (NSF) co-located Luquillo Crucial Zone Observatory (CZO) and Long-Term Ecological Research Study (LTER) websites. In a news release provided by the school, McDowell notes

.

Nitrate is essential for plant development however this is a case where you can have too much of an excellent thing. The levels of nitrate we were seeing were uncommonly high. Over the last 3 years, we have actually observed raised levels of nitrate right after a typhoon, however after these back-to-back significant storms, the wheels came off the bus. We saw a boost in the nitrate levels that still has actually not completely recuperated

.

I make sure a lot of you reading this may be believing, “So what?”

The “so what” is that high nitrate levels impact how forests recuperate and present a considerable hazard to environments along Puerto Rico’s shoreline by promoting more dead zones and algal blossoms. Earth has numerous crucial cycles. Many people recognize with the water cycle or the carbon cycle. Nevertheless, the nitrogen cycle (like the carbon cycle) is a crucial biogeochemical cycle. Utilizing unique sensing units in the streams of the Luquillo Mountains, researchers were shocked to see how high base levels of nitrate were nearly a year after the 2017 cyclones.

If we link the dots, it is clear why researchers fret about a “brand-new typical” for base level nitrates. McDowell states, “i f this continues and the mountain streams carry these greater levels of nitrate to the ocean it might interrupt the seaside community, perhaps threatening coral and other sea life.” Regrettably, the nitrate “brand-new typical” might not be the only one in the area. The University of New Hampshire news release goes on to state:

.

Likewise of issue is forest efficiency. Based upon previous research studies and observations at the Luquillo research study website, the historic frequency of significant cyclone direct hits on the island was approximated to be every 50 – 60 years. However current records reveal that it is now occurring as soon as every 10 years. With this boost in frequency and storm strength, much higher export of nitrate to nitrogen-limited seaside waters can be anticipated than formerly approximated, which might diminish the standing stocks of nitrate in the forest and have unsure impacts on forest efficiency and regrowth.

.

POST CONTINUES AFTER AD

.

.

Aerial image of the shoreline of Puerto Rico that reveals among the numerous streams and rivers that lead below the mountains to the ocean. William McDowell/UNH

.

.

And if these effects are not uneasy enough, Dr. Paul Miller, a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Georgia, supplies some extra something to chew on (or issue). Miller, who will sign up with the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University in January , was not associated with the most current research study. He and coworker Teacher Thomas Mote have actually been examining the effect of severe occasions in the very same area. Miller alerts,

.

Increased nitrate concentrations might just be among a number of hydrological effects of the 2017 cyclones. For instance, the decrease in plant life accompanied transformed cloud patterns and rains over the Puerto Rico in addition to suspended sediment boosts in seaside estuaries. The working hypothesis is that, while including nitrate to the stream system, the defoliated landscape permits more rains to reach the forest flooring while at the same time decreasing the wetness re-emitted into the environment through plant transpiration.

.

The feedbacks that Dr. Miller explain are no various than the intricacy in our own bodies. We have different systems that impact each other and is why we get thorough medical check-ups. Utilizing among the world’s longest records of stream chemistry, the New Hampshire researchers working provided Puerto Rico’s environments a check-up. Not remarkably, they expose the intricacy of environments and why studying the environment, forests, oceans, streams, and land cover as a linked system is vital.

. POST CONTINUES AFTER AD

.

.

.

Marine sensing units are utilized in streams like this one, Quebrada Sonadora, which is among the research study websites in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico where scientists kept an eye on nitrate levels prior to and after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. William McDowell/UNH

.

.

.