Elvis Torres-Delgado This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Grizelle González2, Ernesto Medina2,3, María M. Rivera2 

1 Department of Environmental Science, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR 00925, USA
2 International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Jardín Botánico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, Río Piedras, PR 00926, USA
3 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Aptdo 21827, Caracas 1020-A, Venezuela

Received: October 1, 2020
Revised: January 29, 2021
Accepted: February 2, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200582  

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Cite this article:

Torres-Delgado, E., González, G., Medina, E., Rivera, M.M. (2021). A Multiyear Record of Rainfall and Ionic Composition along an Elevation Gradient in Northeastern Puerto Rico. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200582. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200582


  • Multiyear record of rainfall and ionic composition across an elevation gradient.
  • Elevation was not a sole predictor of rainfall and ionic composition.
  • Location in the mountain affected rainfall and ionic composition.
  • A decrease in precipitation was found for most of the decade at most stations.
  • Seasonal pattern of ionic composition dependent on transported aerosols.


This study analyzes multiyear data recorded by 21 stations along an elevation gradient (0–1045 m a.s.l.) in the Luquillo Mountains on the rainfall and the rainwater chemistry. The total ionic concentration and the rainwater volume exhibited an inverse exponential relationship, with the correlation coefficients ranging from –0.66 to –0.90. Furthermore, the rainfall tended to increase with the elevation, although a few stations, owing to their geographical location and their exposure to the prevailing winds, departed from this trend. The ionic composition also displayed clear seasonality: Contributions from African crustal aerosols and, to a lesser degree, North American anthropogenic aerosols were observed during summer and winter, respectively, whereas marine aerosols were influential year-round. Finally, the annual loads (kg ha–1 y–1) first increased for all of the species, except PO43– and K+, from the lowland to the cloud formation levels (by 47–121%) and then decreased for all of them, except PO43– and NO3, at the altitudes above.

Keywords: Precipitation chemistry, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Rainforest hydrology, Tropical forest, Nutrient deposition

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