Beautiful and breezy cities on small tropical islands, it turns out, may not be exempt from the same local climate change effects and urban heat island effects seen in large continental cities such as Los Angeles or Mexico City. A surprising, recent discovery indicates that this is the case for San Juan, Puerto Rico, a relatively affluent coastal tropical city of about two million inhabitants that is spreading rapidly into the once-rural areas around it.

A recent climatological analysis of the surface temperature of the city has revealed that the local temperature has been increasing over the neighboring vegetated areas at a rate of 0.06°C per year for the past 30 years. This is a trend that may be comparable to climate changes induced by global warming.