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Vikram S. Negi, Shinny Thakur, Rupesh Dhyani, Indra D. Bhatt, and Ranbeer S. Rawal

Abstract

Mountains are important global sites for monitoring biological and socioecological responses to climate change, and the Himalaya has some of the world’s most rapid and visible signs of climate change. The increased frequency and severity of climate anomalies in the region are expected to significantly affect livelihoods of indigenous communities in the region. This study documents the perceptions of indigenous communities of climate change in the western Himalaya of India. The study highlights the power of knowledge and understanding available to indigenous people as they observe and respond to climate change impacts. We conducted a field-based study in 14 villages that represent diverse socioecological features along an altitudinal range of 1000–3800 m MSL in the western Himalaya. Among the sampled population, most of the respondents (>95%) agreed that climate is changing. However, people residing at low- and high-altitude villages differ significantly in their perception, with more people at high altitudes believing in an overall warming trend. Instrumental temperature and rainfall from nearby meteorological stations also supported the perception of local inhabitants. The climate change perceptions in the region were largely determined by sociodemographic variables such as age, gender, and income as well as altitude. A logistic regression, which exhibited significant association of sociodemographic characteristics with climate change perceptions, further supported these findings. The study concluded that the climate change observations of local communities can be usefully utilized to develop adaptation strategies and mitigation planning in the Himalayan region.

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Carol R. Ember, Ian Skoggard, Benjamin Felzer, Emily Pitek, and Mingkai Jiang

Abstract

All societies have religious beliefs, but societies vary widely in the number and type of gods in which they believe as well as their ideas about what the gods do. In many societies, a god is thought to be responsible for weather events. In some of those societies, a god is thought to cause harm with weather and/or can choose to help, such as by bringing needed rain. In other societies, gods are not thought to be involved with weather. Using a worldwide, largely nonindustrial sample of 46 societies with high gods, this research explores whether certain climate patterns predict the belief that high gods are involved with weather. Our major expectation, largely supported, was that such beliefs would most likely be found in drier climates. Cold extremes and hot extremes have little or no relationship to the beliefs that gods are associated with weather. Since previous research by Skoggard et al. showed that greater resource stress predicted the association of high gods with weather, we also tested mediation path models to help us evaluate whether resource stress might be the mediator explaining the significant associations between drier climates and high god beliefs. The climate variables, particularly those pertaining to dryness, continue to have robust relationships to god beliefs when controlling on resource stress; at best, resource stress has only a partial mediating effect. We speculate that drought causes humans more anxiety than floods, which may result in the greater need to believe supernatural beings are not only responsible for weather but can help humans in times of need.

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Emma J. S. Ferranti, Joanna Ho Yan Wong, and Surindar Dhesi

Abstract

As leaders of civil society, governments have a prime responsibility to communicate climate change information in order to motivate their citizens to mitigate and adapt. This study compares the approaches of the U.K. and Hong Kong governments. Although different in size and population, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong have similar climate change agendas to communicate to similarly educated and prosperous populations. The study finds that while both governments use similar means: policy, education, campaigns, internet, and social media, these have different characteristics, with different emphases in their climate change message. The United Kingdom’s top-down approach is more prominent in its legally binding policy and well-defined programs for adaptation and risk assessment. Hong Kong has more effectively embedded climate change education across the school curricula and has a more centralized and consistently branded campaign, with widespread use of visual language to connect the public to the problem. Hong Kong frames climate change as a science–society problem and has a greater focus on self-responsibility and bottom-up behavioral change. Thus, the U.K. and Hong Kong governments have polarized approaches to motivating their citizens into climate action. Moving forward, both governments should consider best practice elements of the other to develop their communication of climate change.

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Mary McRae, Ross A. Lee, Scott Steinschneider, and Frank Galgano
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Yu-Hsuan Lin, Hen-I Lin, Fang-I Wen, and Sheng-Jang Sheu

Abstract

A better understanding of farmers’ investment strategies associated with climate and weather is crucial to protecting farming and other climate-exposed sectors from extreme hydrometeorological events. Accordingly, this study employed a field experiment to investigate the investment decisions under risk and uncertainty by 213 farmers from four regions of Taiwan. Each was asked 30 questions that paired “no investment,” “investment with crop insurance,” “investment with subsidized crop insurance,” and “investment” as possible responses. By providing imperfect information and various probabilities of certain states occurring, the experimental scenarios mimicked various types of weather-forecasting services. As well as their socioeconomic characteristics, the background information we collected about the participants included their experiences of natural disasters and what actions they take to protect their crops from weather damage. The sampled farmers became more conservative in their decision-making as the weather forecasts they received became more precise, except when increases in risk were associated with high returns. The provision of insurance subsidies also had a conservatizing effect. However, considerable variation in investment preferences was observed according to the farmers’ crop types. For those seeking to create comprehensive policies aimed at helping the agricultural sector deal with the costs of damage from extreme events, this study has important implications. This approach could be extended to research on the perceptions of decision-makers in other climate-exposed sectors such as the construction industry.

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Amanda E. Cravens, Jamie McEvoy, Dionne Zoanni, Shelley Crausbay, Aaron Ramirez, and Ashley E. Cooper

Abstract

Drought is a complex challenge experienced in specific locations through diverse impacts, including ecological impacts. Different professionals involved in drought preparedness and response approach the problem from different points of view, which means they may or may not recognize ecological impacts. This study examines the extent to which interviewees perceive ecological drought in the Upper Missouri Headwaters basin in southwestern Montana. Through semistructured interviews, this research investigates individuals’ perceptions of drought by analyzing how they define drought, how they describe their roles related to drought, and the extent to which they emphasize ecological impacts of drought. Results suggest that while most interviewees have an integrated understanding of drought, they tend to emphasize either ecological or nonecological impacts of drought. This focus was termed their drought orientation. Next, the analysis considers how participants understand exposure to drought. Results indicate that participants view drought as a complex problem driven by both human and natural factors. Last, the paper explores understandings of the available solution space by examining interviewees’ views on adaptive capacity, particularly factors that facilitate or hinder the ability of the Upper Missouri Headwaters region to cope with drought. Participants emphasized that adaptive capacity is both helped and hindered by institutional, cultural, and economic factors, as well as by available information and past resource management practices. Understanding how interviewees perceive the challenges of drought can shape drought preparedness and response, allowing those designing programs to better align their efforts to the perceptions of their target audience.

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Mark L. Harvey and Victoria MacPhee

Abstract

Emerging scientific consensus reveals that spending time outdoors promotes wellness. However, several forces impede time spent outdoors, such as opportunity, safety, and adverse weather. While uncomfortable weather intuitively decreases time outdoors, acclimatization research suggests a counterintuitive process: outdoor exposure enhances physiological adaption to adverse weather, thereby increasing perceived comfort in subsequent outings and even during a single outing in some situations, which, in turn, increases time outdoors. Therefore, this study preliminarily investigated whether time spent outdoors is associated with perceptions of weather and ambient temperature, apart from actual weather. This study attempted to isolate the role of self-reported weather comfort and thermocomfort in predicting time spent outdoors by controlling for motivational and social factors. Residing in the same locale, participants were exposed to identical weather conditions. To enhance recall accuracy, participants daily reported time spent outdoors and weather comfort and thermocomfort across a 7-day period, producing 175 time-comfort entries. Cox regression analyses show that greater perceived comfort with weather and greater perceived comfort with the temperature are associated with significantly more time spent outdoors, adjusting for motivational and social factors. Results also show that participants who wanted to go outdoors, as compared with those who had to go outdoors, reported significantly greater weather comfort. Physiological and other relevant research findings on the human relationship with weather contextualize the study’s rationale and results.

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Christopher A. Fiebrich, Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska, Phillip B. Chilson, and Elizabeth A. Pillar-Little

Abstract

In recent years, technological developments in engineering and meteorology have provided the opportunity to introduce innovative extensions to traditional surface mesonets through the application of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS). This new approach of measuring vertical profiles of weather variables by means of UAS in the atmospheric boundary layer, in addition to surface stations, has been termed a 3D mesonet. Technological innovations of a potential 3D mesonet have recently been described in the literature. However, a broader question remains about potential socioeconomic and environmental benefits and beneficiaries of this new extension. Given that the concept of a 3D mesonet is a new idea, studies about socioeconomic and environmental advantages of this network (as compared with traditional mesonets) do not appear to exist in the peer-reviewed literature. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing a first perspective on potential benefits and ripple effects of a 3D mesonet, addressing both the added value and prevented losses in specific sectoral applications and for different groups. A better understanding of qualitative economic aspects related to a 3D mesonet can facilitate future developments of this technology for more cost-effective applications and to mitigate environmental challenges in more efficient ways.

Open access
Yun Su, Yuan Kang, Xianshuai Zhai, and Xiuqi Fang

Abstract

Climate change affects relationships between regions. The sequence of peacemaking events between farming and nomadic groups in northern China from the Western Han to the Qing dynasty was constructed based on historical documents. We analyzed the impacts of climate change on ethnic relationships using war and temperature sequence data from previous studies. The main results are as follows: 1) There were 504 peacemaking events between farming and nomadic groups, with an average frequency of 2.4 times per decade. Paying tribute (68.9%) occurred significantly more frequently than intermarriage for pacification (31.1%). The sequences showed different stages. 2) There were more peacemaking events during cold periods and fewer during warm periods. Intermarriage for pacification played a greater role in peacemaking during warm periods, while paying tribute was more important during cold periods. 3) High-incidence stages of war and of peacemaking events alternated. Peacemaking events occurred more frequently during cold periods and wars occurred more frequently during warm periods. 4) During warm periods, farming and nomadic groups had enough power to contend with each other, wars occurred frequently, and intermarriage was often used for peacemaking. During cold periods, agriculture and animal husbandry declined, both sides weakened, and the power difference between them usually increased. Wars rarely occurred, and paying tribute was often used for peacemaking. Ethnic relationships are affected by many factors. As a background factor influencing land productivity, climate indirectly affected conflict-resolution measures between farming and nomadic groups. We can hereby consider ways to manage interregional ethnic relationships under global climate change today.

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Joshua Ettinger, Peter Walton, James Painter, Shannon Osaka, and Friederike E. L. Otto

Abstract

The science of extreme event attribution (EEA)—which connects specific extreme weather events with anthropogenic climate change—could prove useful for engaging the public about climate change. However, there is limited empirical research examining EEA as a climate change communication tool. To help fill this gap, we conducted focus groups with members of the U.K. public to explore benefits and challenges of utilizing EEA results in climate change advocacy messages. Testing a range of verbal and visual approaches for communicating EEA, we found that EEA shows significant promise for climate change communication because of its ability to connect novel, attention-grabbing, and event-specific scientific information to personal experiences and observations of extreme events. Communication challenges include adequately capturing nuances around extreme weather risks, vulnerability, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction; expressing scientific uncertainty without undermining accessibility of key findings; and difficulties interpreting mathematical aspects of EEA results. On the basis of our findings, we provide recommendations to help address these challenges when communicating EEA results beyond the climate science community. We conclude that EEA can help catalyze important dialogues about the links between extreme weather and human-driven climate change.

Open access