José Javier Hernández Ayala

Associate Professor and Director, Climate Research Center (CRC)

Professor Jose Javier Hernandez Ayala
José Javier Hernández Ayala




Schulz Library 2nd Floor
Office Hours
Tuesday: Thursday:

My research focuses on exploring the climatology of extreme rainfall, flood and drought events and how they are connected to climate variability and climate change. I am also very interested in understanding the connection between socioeconomic activities and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events associated with human induced climate change.

As a researcher, I’ve focused on examining the climatology of extreme rainfall events associated with tropical cyclones and hurricanes over the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico with the specific aim to understand the processes, patterns and impacts associated with these events. This topic is of great importance for all locations exposed to tropical cyclones, since the rainfall associated with these events could lead to devastating floods and mudslides, while the scarcity of it might lead to drought periods that can then impact sensitive ecosystems and vulnerable sectors of society.

Currently, I’m investigating Caribbean rainfall variability during extreme drought periods with the aim to determine if drought events are becoming more frequent and extending their spatial coverage. In my future research I will be focusing on the relationship between human induced climate change and economics. I will examine if our current economic system (capitalism) is the main force behind increases in greenhouse gas emissions and the main obstacle to the climate change solutions.

  • Ph.D. - Physical Geography/Climate Science, University of Florida 2016
  • Graduate Certificate - Applied Atmospheric Sciences, University of Florida 2015                      
  • M.S. - Geographic Information Sciences (GIS), The University of Akron 2012
  • B.A. - Physical/Environmental Geography, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus 2010
Academic Interests
  • Hydroclimatology
  • Extreme Weather and Climate
  • Climate and Society
  • The Caribbean and Latin America


Selected Publications & Presentations

Hernández Ayala JJ, Mann J, and Grosvenor E. (2021). Antecedent rainfall, vegetation growth and its relation to wildfire burned areas in Northern California. Earth and Space Science. 

Hernández Ayala JJ, Mendez-Tejeda R. (2020) How much rainfall did Hurricane Maria really drop in Puerto Rico? Weather. 

Hernández Ayala JJ, Mendez-Tejeda R. (2020) Off-Season Tropical Cyclone Frequency and its connections with Climate Variability and Change. Weather & Climate Dynamics. 

Hernández Ayala JJ (2019) Atmospheric teleconnections and their effects on the annual and seasonal rainfall climatology of Puerto Rico.Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 1-11. 

Keellings D, Hernández Ayala JJ, (2019) Extreme rainfall associated with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and its relation to climate variability and change. Geophysical Research Letters.

Hernández Ayala JJ, Heslar M (2019) Spatial characteristics of rainfall during droughts in The Caribbean using the standardized precipitation index (SPI). Climate Research. 

Hernández Ayala, J. J., Keellings, D., Waylen, P. R., & Matyas, C. J. (2017). Extreme floods and their relationship with tropical cyclones in Puerto Rico. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 1-17.

Hernández Ayala, J. J., & Matyas, C. J. (2017). Spatial distribution of tropical cyclone rainfall and its contribution to the climatology of Puerto Rico. Physical Geography, 1-20.

Hernández Ayala, J. J. (2016). Climatology of tropical cyclone rainfall over Puerto Rico: Processes, patterns and impacts. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation)​ Retrieved from

Hernández Ayala, J. J., & Matyas, C. J. (2016). Tropical cyclone rainfall over Puerto Rico and its relations to environmental and storm‐specific factors. International Journal of Climatology, 36(5), 2223-2237.

Hernández Ayala, J. J. (2012). Spatial and Temporal Changes in Precipitation in Puerto Rico from 1956-2010. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from