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Anna E. Brower
,
Bianca Corpuz
,
Balaji Ramesh
,
Benjamin Zaitchik
,
Julia M. Gohlke
, and
Samarth Swarup

Abstract

Machine learning was applied to predict evacuation rates for all census tracts affected by Hurricane Laura. The evacuation ground truth was derived from cellular telephone–based mobility data. Twitter data, census data, geographical data, COVID-19 case rates, the social vulnerability index from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and relevant weather and physical data were used to do the prediction. Random forests were found to perform well, with a mean absolute percent error of 4.9% on testing data. Feature importance for prediction was analyzed using Shapley additive explanations and it was found that previous evacuation, rainfall forecasts, COVID-19 case rates, and Twitter data rank highly in terms of importance. Social vulnerability indices were also found to show a very consistent relationship with evacuation rates, such that higher vulnerability consistently implies lower evacuation rates. These findings can help with hurricane evacuation preparedness and planning as well as real-time assessment.

Significance Statement

This study evaluates the usefulness of Twitter data, COVID-19 case rates, and the social vulnerability index from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in predicting evacuation rates during Hurricane Laura, in the context of other relevant geographic, and weather-related variables. All three are found to be useful, to different extents, and this work suggests important directions for future research in understanding the reasons behind their relevance to predicting evacuation rates.

Free access
Rosario Carmona
,
Francisca Carril
, and
Rocío Yon

Abstract

Indigenous Peoples’ advocacy has enabled them to position themselves in global debates on climate change. Although the international community progressively acknowledges Indigenous Peoples’ contributions to climate action, their effective recognition in national climate governance remains marginal. This article analyses Indigenous Peoples’ recognition in the climate governance of Latin American states based on a document analysis of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted between 2016 and March 2022. A content analysis and a frequency analysis were conducted on 30 documents. Mentions related to Indigenous Peoples in the NDCs are increasing; nevertheless, this recognition reproduces the multicultural approach that has characterized Latin American states’ legislations and thereby undermines the coherence of climate policy. The references mainly allude to cultural diversity and climatic vulnerability without addressing the ongoing territorial conflicts that mediate the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and states. Nor do the NDCs recognize the right of Indigenous Peoples to participate at the different levels of climate change decision-making processes. Intercultural recognition of Indigenous Peoples and better standards of participation in climate change governance are mandatory. However, states must first promote institutional transformations to address the historical and institutional factors that have produced Indigenous Peoples’ climate vulnerability and generate the necessary mechanisms to implement the recognition committed to in the NDCs.

Significance Statement

The decisions of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change progressively encourage the participation of Indigenous Peoples and consider their knowledge in decision-making processes. Our article explores how this recommendation is assumed in Latin America through the analysis of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—the national pledges in the context of the Paris Agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. Our findings reveal that the mentions and recognition of Indigenous Peoples in NDCs are increasing. This recognition is not matched by promoting full and meaningful intercultural participation. In addition to generating mechanisms for effective participation, addressing the multiple historical and institutional drivers of Indigenous Peoples’ climate vulnerability is necessary.

Free access
Phil Lignier
,
Diane Jarvis
,
Daniel Grainger
, and
Taha Chaiechi

Abstract

It is now widely acknowledged that climate change will have a considerable impact on various aspects of human existence, and this includes happiness and satisfaction with life. This study adds to the existing literature on the contribution of climate to well-being by exploring the interaction of various climate variables at the national and local levels while controlling for socioeconomic factors. Using climate data covering a 20-yr period and demographic data from the Household Income Labor Dynamics in Australia surveys, several ordinary least squares (OLS) models of interaction are developed to test the proposition that climate does influence life satisfaction. Geographically weighted regression is then applied to explore how the relationship between explanatory variables and life satisfaction varies across different regions of Australia. We find that overall rainfall, temperature, and sunshine have a small but significant effect on individual life satisfaction. The spatial analysis reveals a high level of nonstationarity in the way climate variables impact life satisfaction, suggesting that regional climate type may be an important element influencing the relationship. The understanding of this relationship may assist policy makers who develop resilience and adaptation strategies as we face the impacts of climate change.

Significance Statement

To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first investigation of contributions of a wide range of climate factors to individual life satisfaction across a continent-size country that provides a novel spatial analysis of the variations in climate factor impact. The study shows that in regions with climatic conditions of high temperatures and prolonged dry periods, additional heat will adversely affect individual well-being. In view of the anticipated effects of climate change, this finding does not bode well for residents of areas that already have a hot and dry climate, as increasing temperatures and potentially longer droughts are likely to compromise their well-being. This study can inform policy making that considers adaptive climate change strategies for community well-being.

Free access
C. Chadenas
,
M. Chotard
,
O. Navarro
,
R. Kerguillec
,
M. Robin
, and
M. Juigner

Abstract

Studying the population’s perception of coastal erosion is essential and is increasingly used by coastal administrators, especially because it strongly influences the acceptance of coastal adaptation strategies. This article explores the population’s perception of coastal risk on the Atlantic coast of France (Pays de la Loire region) that is an at-risk territory historically affected by erosion and is particularly sensitive to coastal flooding. The major goal of the paper is to collect data in terms of risk perception by carrying out a field survey on three territorial collectivities, with the aim to enhance the feasibility of the managed retreat operations that will be implemented on this coast in the next years. A total of 700 surveys were collected and several original results can be drawn: the population has a good knowledge of erosion in the area where they live, and this knowledge is key because the territory is vulnerable. Similarly, the respondents have a good knowledge of protection measures, but some are more important than others: for example, the reinforcement of coastal defenses is the most commonly cited strategy to deal with coastal hazards whereas relocation is the second-most-known but least-popular scenario. Several factors influence people’s perception of risk: for example, time spent in the residence and age of residents are two elements contributing to place attachment that must be taken into account before starting to implement any climate adaptation policies.

Free access
Chongming Wang
,
Erin Rider
,
Scott Manning
,
Jacob Fast
, and
Tanveer Islam

Abstract

Residents in the Southeast region of the United States are frequently threatened by tornadoes. Previous research indicates that it is important to study the experience of tornado victims to better understand individual risk perception, preparedness, protective action, response, and recovery strategies that contribute to overall community resilience. In this study, we employ an oral-history approach and analyze the lived experience of survivors of an EF3 (on the enhanced Fujita scale) tornado in Jacksonville, Alabama. Using snowball sampling, we conducted in-depth interviews of 25 residents of Jacksonville, Alabama, who experienced the EF3 tornado on 19 March 2018. The recorded interviews were analyzed using qualitative software. Most of the participants described the support system and the range of resources accessible through the network of relations as the critical factors that facilitated recovery and contributed to resilience. The majority also emphasized the importance of being prepared and proactive when addressing future storms, but some of their actions revealed that they were also used to being reactive. The participants were either long-term residents (homeowners) or transient college students (renters), and the data gave insight into different recovery paths and challenges. Further, findings revealed ongoing trauma and recovery challenges due to the extensive, unexpected damage and the lack of temporary housing and contractor availability often associated with small, rural towns. This research aims to provide a scientific basis for improved efforts in preparedness and protective actions as well as in response and recovery strategies in tornado events and for identifying factors of community resilience in tornado-prone areas.

Significance Statement

Grounded in the narratives and reflections of the participants on their tornado experiences, the oral-history interviews generated important insights into psychological–behavioral responses to a disaster, as well as key building blocks of resilience, adding to the body of research surrounding disaster impact and vulnerability, especially for small, rural towns. The preserved voices, stories, and social memory are expected to benefit current and future generations of the community facing similar threats. The findings of this study will further help to inform better practice of local emergency managers and government officials for promoting public awareness of tornadoes and other weather-related risks so as to be more prepared for future extreme weather events.

Free access
Shabana Kamal
and
Ilan Noy

Abstract

The interaction between climate change, agriculture, and financial markets is a topic that has been researched relatively little thus far. This paper intends to extend the literature by empirically testing the relationships between droughts and farms’ financing choices (measured in terms of real debt and equity) in New Zealand. Using microeconomic farm-level financial records available from the tax authorities, we quantify how past droughts (measured by the New Zealand pasture growth index) impact farms’ financing choices. We show a statistically significant positive impact of droughts on short-term and long-term debts, equity for dairy farms, and short-term debt for sheep and beef farms.

Free access
Veronica Makuvaro
,
Tavengwa Chitata
,
Emmanuel Tanyanyiwa
, and
Solomon Zirebwa

Abstract

Sustainability of rain-fed agriculture in semiarid regions is being threatened by climate variability and change. Weather and climate information (WCI) can be used to reduce the effects of this threat on agricultural production. WCI may be available, but is it readily accessible and communicated/disseminated efficiently to intended end users? Are stakeholders able to interpret the information to correctly inform decision-making? To answer these questions, in view of intermediate stakeholders (service providers to farmers), a study was carried out in two districts of the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe to identify the type and sources of WCI received by these stakeholders as well as constraints and opportunities to access, interpretation, and use of WCI. The study sample was drawn from the Midlands Provincial Drought Relief Committee, a link between the sources of WCI and the smallholder farmers. A questionnaire pretested for clarity and checked for internal consistency of themes using the standardized Cronbach’s alpha was used to collect data. Descriptive statistics were generated using SPSS (version 20.0). Findings were that WCI was sometimes not readily available or was received late. Approximately 36% of the intermediate stakeholders (service providers) passed on WCI to farmers in its original form, from the main source the Meteorological Services Department. It was also unfortunate to discover that 36% of the respondents had challenges interpreting WCI. Impediments to the use of WCI by farmers included scientific information not aligning with indigenous information, which is better understood by farmers, and lack of trust in WCI. It is imperative to improve access to WCI and to train stakeholders on interpretation and dissemination of WCI.

Significance Statement

Weather and climate information—if accurate, accessible, provided in a timely manner, and well understood—can be helpful in the farm decision-making process. Its usefulness is becoming more important with increased climatic variability and change. This paper highlights the challenges and opportunities for service providers in communicating and disseminating WCI. We believe that findings from the study will give direction to efficient utilization of the information by the various end users, for which smallholder farmers are the majority in most developing countries.

Free access
Julia Teebken
,
Nicole Mitchell
,
Klaus Jacob
, and
Thorsten Heimann

Abstract

Climate change adaptation planning and implementation have proliferated over the past years. However, we still lack an understanding of how society adapts itself outside of policy sectors and as part of what some refer to as “autonomous adaptation.” The way people respond to risk without deliberate interventions of public actors is not well understood. Given the increasing occurrence of climatic changes that affect our daily lives, the topic is regaining attention with an emphasis on behavioral adaptation. This angle, however, does little to enhance our understanding of how society adapts collectively and which practices and routines groups choose to adopt. This study investigates autonomous heat-stress adaptation efforts in two small towns in Germany. Autonomous heat-stress adaptation is approached through a lens of (social) adaptation practices. Small towns are understudied in adaptation research and have played only a minor role when it comes to public adaptation planning due to their lack of formal resources to develop public adaptation strategies. Based on empirical data, consisting of qualitative problem-centered interviews and a quantitative survey, concrete examples of (social) adaptation practices are identified and classified. The presented classification of practices goes beyond earlier attempts by generating insights on the role politics can play in providing a fruitful ground for enabling autonomous adaptation. The paper emphasizes the need for researchers and decision-makers to take a closer look at the wide variety of social adaptation practices already in place. This discloses insights on public–private adaptation mixes, which could ultimately also lift autonomous adaptation from its ad hoc and reactive nature.

Significance Statement

Social adaptation practices are not yet at the center of research and decision-making. We believe that adding practice-based approaches to adaptation governance widens the debate on who is vulnerable and possible coping mechanisms from within society. It shows that vulnerability and adaptation lie in people’s everyday actions. We provide a first classification of heat-health adaptation practices according to their heat-health target, the involved individuals and actors, the degree of coordination involved, and the spatial and temporal scales. This classification draws attention to potential governance leverage points to initiate heat-adaptation practices. Focusing more strongly on already-in-use and possible heat-health adaptation practices puts citizens’ wants and needs at the center of adaptation governance by including them directly in the adaptation process. This can be of special interest for small towns that want to introduce citizen-based approaches to heat-risk adaptation.

Free access
Jonathan M. Garner
and
Carly E. Kovacik

Abstract

Wildfires that posed an immediate threat to life and property during the period 1933–2021 were examined across the Pacific Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Such fires were identified in local, state, and federal data archives and other sources that yielded 150 events for analysis. A subset of those fires was sorted into one of two synoptic-scale patterns associated with an autumn-season offshore-directed low-level flow regime and a summer-season non-offshore-directed low-level flow regime. Proximity analysis soundings near the offshore wind-driven wildfires frequently displayed ingredients that supported gap and mountain-wave development, which were responsible for generating fast-moving wildfires, long-distance spotting, and firebrand showers that resulted in loss of life and property. Paradoxically, the most extreme combinations of strong winds and low relative humidity were observed near high-population centers in Southern California, yet the most destructive and deadly fires were in less-populated regions of northern California and western Oregon. Additional analysis of 40 Fire Behavior Fuel Models data, housing development in the wildland–urban interface, and U.S. census demographic information revealed that the northern California and western Oregon wildfires were associated with more devastating outcomes because 1) a higher ratio of communities were intermixed with flammable fuels, 2) fire ignitions of an electrical origin occurred in wind-prone corridors that were upstream from communities, and 3) communities in northern California and western Oregon were composed of a greater percentage of socially vulnerable people such as the elderly who were less capable of perceiving and evading intense rapidly evolving wildfires.

Free access
Daniel Burow
,
Kelsey Ellis
, and
Jennifer First

Abstract

Tornado watches are issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for tornado formation. Individuals’ responses to a tornado watch may affect their ability to seek shelter before a tornado strikes. Here, survey data of Tennessee residents were used to determine common patterns in intended responses to two tornado watch scenarios: one during daytime, and the other at nighttime. Three common patterns were identified for a daytime watch: doing nothing, seeking information using technology, or seeking shelter and praying for safety. The two patterns for a nighttime watch were either to do nothing or to react actively by seeking further information, seeking shelter, and contacting friends and family. Logistic regressions indicated younger participants, those with prior tornado experience, and those who understood a tornado watch were less likely to intend to seek shelter and pray for safety during the daytime. Older participants and those without strong self-efficacy beliefs were less likely to use technology to find further information. For the nighttime scenario, participants living in east Tennessee and those who believed that bodies of water provide protection from tornadoes were more likely to respond actively, while wealthier participants and those living in single- or multifamily houses were less likely to respond actively. These results show that intended watch response is influenced by many factors, including age, income, and self-efficacy beliefs, as well as knowledge of and experience with tornadoes. In addition, those who do not understand the meaning of a tornado watch may be more likely to seek shelter prematurely.

Significance Statement

We sought to determine common intended responses to tornado watches, a type of alert that indicates conditions are favorable for tornadoes over the next few hours, among the public. We then analyzed which participant characteristics were associated with these common response types. Age, income, housing type, belief in tornado myths, knowledge of watch terminology, and belief that one’s own actions affect tornado survival likelihood were all significantly associated with common response types. These findings are important for forecasters, broadcasters, and others responsible for alerting the public for severe weather. Clarifying tornado watch terminology, dispelling myths, and specifying where those in mobile homes can find shelter are all important strategies for a better-prepared public.

Free access