An assessment of the impacts of climate change on Puerto Rico's Cultural Heritage with a case study on sea-level rise

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Journal of Cultural Heritage, ISSN: 1296-2074, Vol: 32, Page: 198-209

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Paula Ezcurra; Isabel C. Rivera-Collazo
Elsevier BV
Arts and Humanities; Chemistry; Materials Science; Computer Science
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article description
In this paper, we summarize how current and projected climate changes are expected to impact material cultural heritage in Puerto Rico. As case study, we also conducted a spatial analysis vulnerability assessment of coastal heritage sites below 20 meters in elevation. Results from the analysis show that of the 1185 known cultural heritage sites below 20 m in elevation in Puerto Rico, 27 sites are inundated at today's highest high tide, 56 will be inundated by mid-century when assuming a 0.6 m rise in sea-level, and 140 sites will be inundated by end-of-century when assuming a 1.8 m rise in sea-level. Spatial analysis of sites adjacent to the high tide line demonstrate that these values are likely conservative, as there are many sites located within 1 m of the highest high tide line that should also be considered vulnerable. Finally, we present and introductory proposal that addresses the need for vulnerability assessments to aid cultural heritage managers in developing adaptive strategies for climate change impacts to material heritage.