Mapping Environmental and Socioeconomic impacts of hydrometeorological hazards across Central America. Study case: Honduras

  • Eric Jose Alfaro Martínez Center for Geophysical Research, University of Costa Rica, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica School of Physics, University of Costa Rica, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology, University of Costa Rica, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica, Costa Rica
  • Hugo Hidalgo León University of Costa Rica, School of Physics, 2060-San Pedro., Costa Rica
  • Paula Pérez Briceño University or Costa Rica, Center for Geophysical Research, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica, Costa Rica


Hydrometeorological hazards have historically affected Central America and significantly impacted the isthmus. However, the spatial distribution of those impacts is heterogeneous and depends on several factors, such as storm trajectories and community vulnerability. To address the spatial distribution of impacts related with historical events, Honduras was used as a case study. This paper was aimed at identifying the municipalities most impacted by the hydrometeorological events and at studying their correlation with socioeconomic
variables. Impacts recorded from 1919 to 2012 were collected from the DesInventar and EM-DAT databases. Data was georeferenced using a Geographical Information System and the information was disaggregated at
local government scale. Spearman spatial correlation were calculated between physical variables and socioeconomic indices. The municipalities that reported more impacts included La Ceiba, Choluteca, Francisco Morazán and Yoro. Three hazards were found and the most important regarding impacts: cold fronts or outbreaks, tropical cyclones and easterly waves. The first type was more common during boreal winter, while the last two hazards were normally found during boreal spring-summer-autumn. Population and poverty were the social variables with the highest correlation with impacts. The analysis showed that spatial distribution of impacts related with hydrometeorological causes cannot be explained solely by climate causes. Therefore, other variables, such as socioeconomic should also be considered in analyses of these types of impact.


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Biografía del autor

Eric Jose Alfaro Martínez, Center for Geophysical Research, University of Costa Rica, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica School of Physics, University of Costa Rica, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology, University of Costa Rica, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica
Eric J. Alfaro has a B.Sc. in Meteorology from University of Costa Rica and a Doctorate in Oceanography from the University of Concepcion, Chile. Worked as Meteorologist at the Costa Rican National Meteorological Institute from 1992 to 1993. Actually, he is Full Professor at the School of Physics, University of Costa Rica, teaching since 1989. He is an active member of the Programs in Atmospheric Sciences and also Integrated Coastal Management, both at the Graduate Studies System, University of Costa Rica. He is an associate researcher at the Center for Geophysical Research and at the Center for Research in Limnology and Marine Sciences, University of Costa Rica. His interest areas include climatology, ocean-atmosphere interaction, meteorology, physical oceanography and multivariate statistical models. Dr. Alfaro has special interest in the statistical assessment of seasonal predictions from numerical model outputs, related also with climate change; and their comparison with the observed data in the Mesoamerican region.
Hugo Hidalgo León, University of Costa Rica, School of Physics, 2060-San Pedro.

Hugo Hidalgo es Licenciado en Ingeniería Civil de la UCR y Doctor en Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental (Recursos Hídricos) de la Universidad de California, Los Ángeles. En la actualidad, es profesor asociado en la Escuela de Física de la UCR, Director de la Maestría Académica en Hidrología y miembro de la Comisión de Posgrado en Ciencias de la Atmósfera del Sistema de Estudios de Posgrado, UCR. Es también el director del Centro de Investigaciones Geofísicas (CIGEFI), donde además se desempeña como investigador desde el año 2009 al presente, con proyectos de investigación de variabilidad y cambio climático así como sus impactos en la hidrología regional centroamericana.

Paula Pérez Briceño, University or Costa Rica, Center for Geophysical Research, 2060-San Pedro, Costa Rica

Bachiller en Geografía de la Universidad de Costa Rica, con una Maestría en Gestión Integrada de Áreas Costeras Tropicales de la misma universidad. Ha colaborado con el Centro de Investigaciones Geofísicas de la Universidad de Costa Rica en proyectos relacionados con variabilidad climática y cambio climático e impactos de desastres por eventos hidrometeorológicos. Maneja sistematización y bases de datos y experta en Sistemas de Información Geográfica (SIG).


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Cómo citar
Alfaro Martínez, E., Hidalgo León, H., & Pérez Briceño, P. (2018). Mapping Environmental and Socioeconomic impacts of hydrometeorological hazards across Central America. Study case: Honduras. Revista De Política Económica Y Desarrollo Sostenible, 3(1).

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