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. 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.


Wet deposition is an essential source of nutrients and pollutants for terrestrial ecosystems, such as tropical forests. This article analyses a multiyear record of rainfall and ion composition data for 21 stations along an elevation gradient (0-1045 m a.s.l.) in the Luquillo Mountains. We found the concentration of total ions exponentially inversely correlated with rainfall volume with correlation coefficients ranging from -0.66 to -0.90, and rainfall increased with elevation. Variations in that trend were observed in several stations due to their location and exposure to predominant winds. The ion composition had a clear seasonal pattern with crustal aerosols from Africa present in the summer period and a small influence of anthropogenic aerosols from North America present during winter, while marine aerosols are present year-round. The annual ion load (kg/ha/year) increased from lowland stations up to the cloud formation levels (47-121%) except for PO43- and K+ and then decreased in the higher stations except for PO43- and NO3-.

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

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