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Keegan Fraser and Jennifer M. Fitchett

Abstract

In an era of globalisation, the spread of misinformation is becoming increasingly problematic. The dissemination of inaccurate and conflicting news on events such as tropical cyclones, can result in people being placed at increased risk and negatively influence the amount of aid received by the region. This study scrutinises media articles, and with the use of comparative analysis, uncovers the potential cause of misinformation in disaster journalism. The results of the study found that 59% (n=80) of the articles reported on wind speed values while 80% (n=80) of the articles reported on the number of fatalities. Results indicate that 44% (n=80) of the articles used official sources, uncovering that the potential source of misinformation is not only what is provided to journalists from official sources, but how the various sources used lead to contradicting news articles. The variations in news reports can be attributed to factors such as, the influx of different reports and the changing conditions during a disaster, all of which make consistent reporting on a disaster a challenging process.

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William Turner IV and Terrence R. Nathan

Abstract

The relationship between the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (TAST) is examined using the Slave Voyages dataset and a reconstructed ENSO index. The ENSO index is used as a proxy for West African rainfall and temperature. In the Sahel, the El Niño (warm) phase of ENSO is associated with less rainfall and warmer temperatures, whereas the La Niña (cold) phase of ENSO is associated with more rainfall and cooler temperatures. The association between ENSO and the TAST is weak but statistically significant at a two-year lag. In this case, El Niño (drier and warmer) years are associated with a decrease in the export of enslaved Africans. The response of the TAST to El Niño is explained in terms of the societal response to agricultural stresses brought on by less rainfall and warmer temperatures. ENSO-induced changes to the TAST are briefly discussed in light of climate-induced movements of peoples in centuries past, and in the drought-induced movement of peoples in the Middle East today.

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David A. Call and Guy A. Flynt

Abstract

Snow has numerous effects on traffic, including reduced traffic volumes, greater crash risk, and increased travel times. This research examines how snow affects crash risk, traffic volume, and toll revenue on the New York State Thruway. Daily data from January for a ten-year period (2010-2019) were analyzed for the Thruway from the Pennsylvania state line in western New York to Syracuse.

Anywhere from 35-50 percent of crashes are associated with inclement weather, with smaller impacts, proportionally, in areas with greater traffic volumes. As expected, snow was almost always involved when weather was a factor. “Unsafe speed” was the most common cause of crashes in inclement weather with all other factors (e.g., animals, drowsiness) much less likely to play a role. The percentage of crashes resulting in an injury did not change significantly with inclement conditions when compared to crashes occurring in fair conditions, and there were too few fatal crashes to make any inferences about them.

Daily snowfall rates predicted about 30 percent of the variation in crash numbers, with every 5.1 cm of snowfall resulting in an additional crash, except in Buffalo where 5.1 cm of snow resulted in an additional 2.6 crashes. Confirming earlier results, daily snowfall had a large impact on passenger vehicle counts while commercial vehicle counts were less affected. Revenue data showed a similar pattern, with passenger revenue typically decreasing by 3-5 percent per 2.5 cm of snow, while commercial revenue decreases were 1-4 percent per 2.5 cm of snow.

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Traoré Amadou, Falconnier Gatien N, Kouressy Mamoutou, Serpantié Georges, BA Alassane, Affholder François, Giner Michel, and Sultan Benjamin

Abstract

Adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change is crucial to avoid food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa. Farmers’ perception of climate change is a crucial element in adaptation process. The aim of this study was (i) to compare farmers’ perception of climate change with actual weather data recorded in central Mali and (ii) to identify changes in agricultural practices implemented by farmers to adapt to climate change and iii) to investigate the link between farmers’ perception of climate change and implementation of adaptation practices. Focus group discussions and individual surveys were conducted to identify climate-related changes perceived by farmers and agricultural adaptation strategies they consider relevant to cope with these changes. Majority (>50%) of farmers perceived an increase in temperature, decrease in rainfall, shortening of growing season, early cessation of rainfall and increase in the frequency of dry spells at beginning of growing season. In line with farmers’ perception, analysis of climate data indicated (i) increase in mean annual temperature and minimum growing season temperature and (ii) decrease in total rainfall. Farmers’ perception of early cessation of rainfall and more frequent drought periods were not detected by climate data analysis. To cope with decrease in rainfall and late start of growing season, farmers used drought-tolerant cultivars and implemented water-saving technologies. Despite a perceived warming, no specific adaptation to heat stress was mentioned 30 by farmers. Our study high-lights the need for a dialogue between farmers and researchers to develop new strategies to compensate for the expected negative impacts of heat stress on agricultural productivity.

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Chen Zhang, Hua Liao, Fang-Zhi Wang, and Ru Li

Abstract

Human behaviors are believed to be sensitive to environmental conditions. However, little is known about the role of temperature in individual daily behaviors. We examine the links between temperature and food intake using nearly one million purchasing records from China. The results show that a 1°C increase in temperature would cause a 0.11% decrease in food intake, which amounts to USD 4.2 million of daily food expenditures nationwide. Moreover, females appear to be more sensitive to the temperature in their food intake than males. In addition, we observe a U-shaped relationship between the temperature and the willingness to order a takeout online, and this observation is robust under multiple alternative estimations. Our results indicate that a higher temperature would reduce energy demand for body thermoregulation, resulting in less food intake. Both extreme high and low temperatures can cause disutility. Therefore, the consumers who still want to satisfy their needs for food intake feel compelled to alter their willingness to pay under the extreme temperature events. The quantitative analysis can provide helpful references for modeling the climate–consumer relationship in integrated assessment models. Thus, it is an interesting avenue for future research to bridge the climate and consumers to identify welfare loss and inequality due to climate change.

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Katie A. Wilson, Burkely T. Gallo, Patrick Skinner, Adam Clark, Pamela Heinselman, and Jessica J. Choate

Abstract

Convection-allowing model ensemble guidance, such as that provided by the Warn-on-Forecast System (WoFS), is designed to provide predictions of individual thunderstorm hazards within the next 0–6 h. The WoFS web viewer provides a large suite of storm and environmental attribute products, but the applicability of these products to the National Weather Service forecast process has not been objectively documented. Therefore, this study describes an experimental forecasting task designed to investigate what WoFS products forecasters accessed and how they accessed them for a total of 26 cases (comprising 13 weather events, each worked by two forecasters). Analysis of web access log data revealed that, in all 26 cases, product accesses were dominated in the reflectivity, rotation, hail, and surface wind categories. However, the number of different product types viewed and the number of transitions between products varied in each case. Therefore, the Levenshtein (edit distance) method was used to compute similarity scores across all 26 cases, which helped to identify what it meant for relatively similar versus dissimilar navigation of WoFS products. The Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient R results found that forecasters working the same weather event had higher similarity scores for events that produced more tornado reports and for events in which forecasters had higher performance scores. The findings from this study will influence subsequent efforts for further improving WoFS products and developing an efficient and effective user interface for operational applications.

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Zeke Baker

Abstract

A major implication of climate change is the declining capacity for communities to anticipate future conditions and scenarios. In the Bering Sea region of western Alaska, this situation is acute and holds manifold consequences, particularly for the region’s primarily Indigenous residents. Based upon interviews and fieldwork in two Bering Sea communities and among regional weather forecasters, this paper explores the intertwined temporalities of weather, climate, and social life. I demonstrate that anticipatory culture, which otherwise structures anticipatory practices with regard to climate, local weather, and social life, is beset by temporal dissonance across three time scales. First, dramatic climatic and ecosystem shifts reshape how Indigenous Peoples envision themselves as culturally inhabiting a long-range history and future. Second, changes in weather patterns, ecological cycles, and sea ice dynamics upset evaluations of seasonality, leading to a pervasive sense of unpredictability. Third, on the everyday time scale, social and technological change complicates mariners’ evaluations of risk and economic (commercial and subsistence) decision-making. I conclude by connecting these three socioenvironmental temporalities to the temporal frames that primarily characterize weather and climate services, with an emphasis on the U.S. National Weather Service. The paper discusses how such services may further orient toward engaging socially embedded practices of anticipation in addition to formal prediction. Such an orientation can help to shape an anticipatory culture that more closely aligns meteorological and social patterns.

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Nikolai Bobylev, Sebastien Gadal, Valery Konyshev, Maria Lagutina, and Alexander Sergunin

Abstract

The Russian Arctic is a highly urbanized region, with most towns built in the Soviet era to facilitate extraction industries as well as to provide and maintain military facilities. Global environmental and developmental changes, as well as national political decisions, open up Russia’s Arctic to massive investment and industrial and socioeconomic development. How do Russian Arctic cities, towns, and municipalities reflect on new opportunities in terms of designing their climate change adaptation strategies at a local level? Starting with theoretical discourse on urban climate change adaptation strategy, this research examines state-of-the-art challenges and trends in planning for adaptation measures in Russia’s Arctic industrial centers. Special attention is given to a comparative analysis of the cities’ climate change adaptation strategies. The role of civil society institutions and business community in the adaptation strategy planning process is explored. Moreover, conflict-sensitive approaches to ensure participatory processes for designing and implementing adaptation measures are discussed. The field component of research is based on the cities of Apatity, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Norilsk, Salekhard, and Severodvinsk and the towns of Monchegorsk, Nickel, and Vorkuta. The study concludes that, despite significant challenges identified, the total “balance sheet” of the Arctic cities’ efforts to enhance their adaptive capacities is very positive: Russian northern urban settlements do their best in addressing existing challenges via planning for sustainability approach. However, there is more to do, and municipalities should learn from one another’s experiences, as the different approaches can be helpful in developing adequate climate change adaptation strategies at the local level.

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Scott Knowles and Mark Skidmore

Abstract

The North Dakota Cloud Modification Project was established in 1951 to reduce severe hail damage and increase precipitation in specific counties in North Dakota. Every year, participating counties receive cloud-seeding treatment during the months of June, July, and August. Although some atmospheric studies have examined the efficacy of the treatment, few have used statistical procedures to determine how the program affected crop yields and crop losses. We use the panel nature of historical cloud-seeding participation and crop data to estimate a two-way fixed-effects regression with county-specific time trends to examine the effect of cloud seeding on wheat and barley yields. In addition, we use federal crop insurance data to estimate the effect of cloud seeding on losses for those same crops. Our evaluation indicates that the cloud-seeding program had significant positive effects on crop yields and improved loss ratios.

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Yu-Wen Su

Abstract

The continuously increasing temperatures worldwide indicate that the frequently extreme heat in summer will become a new normal. The extreme high temperature (EHT) could be dangerous to human health, especially for outdoor workers or commuters, and could increase the risk of grid collapse. Thus, the possibility of a day off due to EHT has started to be discussed in Taiwan, based on the experience of typhoon day off, but discussions have not yet concluded. In this study, the effects of the EHT day off on electricity consumption in the industrial, service, and residential sectors were investigated through two determinants: First, high temperature would increase the electricity consumption in space cooling. Second, a day off would change people’s behavior of electricity consumption from workday to nonworkday modes. Combining the effects of cooling hours and nonworkdays, the net influence of the EHT day off on electricity consumption can be evaluated. Estimated results indicated that an EHT day off can reduce aggregate electricity consumption by between 0.41% and 1.08%. The reduction of electricity consumption due to the off day offsets the increase driven by high temperatures. Thus, an EHT day off will mitigate the pressure on the power grid and benefit electricity conservation.

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