Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 667 items for :

  • Weather, Climate, and Society x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
Lauren Vorhees
,
Jane Harrison
,
Michael O’Driscoll
,
Charles Humphrey Jr.
, and
Jared Bowden

Abstract

Nearly one-half of the residents of North and South Carolina use decentralized or onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS). As the climate changes, coastal communities relying on OWTS are particularly vulnerable, as soil-based wastewater treatment may be reduced by water inundation from storm surge, sea level rise and associated groundwater rise, and heavy rainfall. Despite the vulnerabilities of OWTS to increased precipitation and sea level rise, there is little known about how onsite wastewater managers are responding to current and future climate risks. We conducted interviews with wastewater operators and installers and health regulators to understand the functioning, management, and regulation of OWTS in the current climate, challenges with rising sea levels and increases in extreme weather events, and what adaptation strategies could be implemented to mitigate negative impacts. Our results indicate that heavy precipitation and storm surges cause malfunctions for conventional septic systems where traditional site variables (e.g., soil type or groundwater level) are undesirable. Weather and climate are not required regulatory factors to consider in system selection and site approval, but many OWTS managers are aware of their impacts on the functioning of systems, and some are preemptively taking action to mitigate those impacts. Our findings suggest that filling gaps in the current communication structure between regulators and homeowners relying on OWTS is critical for coastal communities in the Carolinas to build climate resilience into decentralized wastewater infrastructure.

Significance Statement

This research aims to understand the functioning, management, and regulation of onsite wastewater treatment systems in the current climate, the challenges to these systems caused by rising sea levels and increases in extreme weather events, and the adaptation strategies that can be implemented to mitigate negative climate impacts. These results can be used by state government agencies, municipalities, and private sector wastewater managers to improve the resiliency of onsite wastewater treatment systems.

Restricted access
Xiaojun Chu
and
Jing Xu

Abstract

Climate change increases the probability and intensity of disaster and brings adverse impacts on social and economic activities. This paper presents the impact of climate risk on the cost of equity capital (COE) and sheds light on the influence mechanisms and moderating factors between climate disaster shocks and the COE in a developing country. We first explain how climate risk represented by drought impacts the COE theoretically. Using the sample data listed in A-share market from 2004 to 2019, we find that drought leads to the rise of the COE due to the deterioration of information environment and the rise of business risk. Specifically, the influence mechanism is tested, and the results show that 1) drought increases firms’ real earnings management 2) and drought has a negative impact on the firms’ return on asset (ROA). Namely, the influence mechanism of drought on the COE is that drought changes the firms’ information environment and business activities. Further analysis shows that the impact of drought on the COE is different in a heterogeneous firm. The drought has a significant impact on the COE in firms with low-ability managers, state-owned enterprises, and politically connected firms, but the impact is not significant in firms with high-ability managers, non-state-owned enterprises, and nonpolitically connected firms. Our research helps people to understand the consequences of climate change from the microeconomic-level firm’s perspective.

Restricted access
Nicola Ulibarri
,
Claudia Valencia-Uribe
,
Brett F. Sanders
,
Jochen Schubert
,
Richard Matthew
,
Fonna Forman
,
Maura Allaire
, and
David Brady

Abstract

This paper develops the concept of flood problem framing to understand decision-makers’ priorities in flood risk management in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region, California. Problem frames shape an individual’s preferences for particular management strategies and their future behaviors. While flooding is a complex, multifaceted problem, with multiple causes and multiple impacts, a decision-maker is most likely to manage only those dimensions of flooding about which they are aware or concerned. To evaluate flood decision-makers’ primary concerns related to flood exposure, vulnerability, and management in the LA Metro, we draw on focus groups with flood control districts, city planners, nonprofit organizations, and other flood-related decision makers. We identify numerous concerns, including concerns about specific types of floods (e.g., fluvial versus pluvial) and impacts to diverse infrastructure and communities. Our analyses demonstrate that flood concerns aggregate into three problem frames: one concerned with large fluvial floods exacerbated by climate change and their housing, economic, and infrastructure impacts; one concerned with pluvial nuisance flooding, pollution, and historic underinvestment in communities; and one concerned with coastal and fluvial flooding’s ecosystem impacts. While each individual typically articulated concerns that overlapped with only one problem frame, each problem frame was discussed by numerous organization types, suggesting low barriers to cross-organizational coordination in flood planning and response. This paper also advances our understanding of flood risk perception in a region that does not face frequent large floods.

Restricted access
Gala Gulacsik
,
Susan L. Joslyn
,
John Robinson
, and
Chao Qin

Abstract

The likelihood of threatening events is often simplified for members of the public and presented as risk categories such as the “watches” and “warnings” currently issued by National Weather Service in the United States. However, research (e.g., Joslyn and LeClerc) suggests that explicit numeric uncertainty information—for example, 30%—improves people’s understanding as well as their decisions. Whether this benefit extends to dynamic situations in which users must process multiple forecast updates is as yet unknown. It may be that other likelihood expressions, such as color coding, are required under those circumstances. The experimental study reported here compared the effect of the categorical expressions “watches” and “warnings” with both color-coded and numeric percent chance expressions of the likelihood of a tornado in a situation with multiple updates. Participants decided whether and when to take shelter to protect themselves from a tornado on each of 40 trials, each with seven updated tornado forecasts. Understanding, decision quality, and trust were highest in conditions that provided percent chance information. Color-coded likelihood information inspired the least trust and led to the greatest overestimation of likelihood and confusion with severity information of all expressions.

Restricted access
Jennifer Collins
,
Amy Polen
,
Elizabeth Dunn
,
Isabelle Jernigan
,
Killian McSweeney
,
Mark Welford
,
Michelle Lackovic
,
Delián Colón-Burgos
, and
Yi-Jie Zhu

Abstract

This study examines risk perceptions and evacuation planning for those residents affected by Hurricane Laura—the first major hurricane evacuation during the COVID-19 pandemic—and Hurricane Sally, prior to the widespread availability of vaccines. Research on hurricane evacuation behavior and risk perceptions during a pandemic is critical for quantifying the intersect of these compounding threats. Analyses captured how people perceive public shelters and whether evacuation choices changed in light of the pandemic. Many study participants considered themselves vulnerable to COVID-19 (39.4%), and two-thirds believed it would be “very serious” if they or their loved ones contracted COVID-19, but this had no impact on their actual evacuation decision-making. Approximately 75% of the sample stayed at home during Hurricanes Laura or Sally, and, of these, just over 80% indicated that COVID-19 was a somewhat important deciding factor. This reflects the partial role that COVID-19 played in balancing individual and household protective action decision-making during complex disasters, whereas 15.5% wanted to evacuate but waited until it was too late. For those who evacuated to a hotel, many found that staff and guests wore masks and socially distanced in common spaces. Of particular interest is that individuals have a continued negative perception of public shelters’ ability to safeguard against COVID-19 that was coupled with a significant decrease in the number of respondents that would potentially use shelters in 2020 as compared with before the COVID-19 pandemic. These results have informed and will inform future hazard mitigation planning during the current pandemic or future pandemics or infectious disease outbreaks.

Restricted access
Kathleen Sherman-Morris
,
Cole Vaughn
,
Jason C. Senkbeil
, and
Stephen Wooten

Abstract

Although there is clear evidence that proximity to a tornado or forecast tornado increases an individual’s risk perception, the specific relationships between risk personalization and spatial variables are unclear. It has also been established that one’s own evaluation of distance does not always match objective measurement. This study sought to explain the differences in the distance at which an individual would personalize the risk from a tornado across personally relevant geospatial factors such as the distance between places frequented (e.g., home and work), urban/rural classification of the area, and the length of residence in the county. A survey of 1023 respondents across eight states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee) was used to obtain risk personalization distances, which were distinguished as “worry distances” (the distances at which one would worry about their house or loved ones, or take protective action) and “confirmation distances” (the distances at which one would expect to see, hear, or feel the effects of a tornado). We found that individuals who traveled greater distances and traveled more frequently to the grocery store and another location, those who self-defined their area as urban, and those with advanced degrees had increased risk personalization distances. Lengthier residency in the county influenced these distances as well. Future research is required to better comprehend the relationship of place, risk perception, and geographic mobility on protective action when a tornado occurs.

Significance Statement

Greater tornado risk personalization distances were associated with self-defining as urban, having an advanced degree, and driving farther and more frequently to the grocery store and to another location. Longer length of residence was associated with shorter risk personalization distances. With rural participants expressing shorter tornado risk personalization distances, warning communicators with the ability to tailor messages to multiple communities may wish to adjust messages no the basis of whether they are targeted to rural communities or to urban communities.

Restricted access
Mozharul Islam

Abstract

This paper explores the internal migration of fishers from coastal communities of Bangladesh in response to extreme weather events. It also assesses the vulnerabilities to extreme weather events of these coastal areas, in general, and of targeted fishing communities, in particular. This qualitative study employs a combination of methods, semistructured interviews and observations, in two villages located in the eastern part of Kalapara Upazila, Patuakhali district of Bangladesh. The results indicate that the participants of the study are susceptible to the vulnerability of extreme weather events due to their households’ socioeconomic and geographical location. This study shows that most people from the fishing communities do not migrate to other places to escape from the vulnerabilities as they have high dependency on fish-related activities. Also, there are various socioeconomic and cultural factors that hinder their migration, including the Mohajon–Dadon system, migration costs, lack of skills and resources, and fear of income insecurity. Instead of migrating, they develop their own traditional adaptation mechanisms to ensure their survival. These people remain underrepresented and are not adequately recorded in national or regional migration data.

Restricted access
Keely Maxwell
,
Emily Eisenhauer
, and
Allyza Lustig

Abstract

Integration of the social sciences into climate assessments enhances report content and actionable science. The literature has identified the benefits and challenges in achieving coequal intellectual partnerships between the social and biogeophysical sciences in climate research. Less has been written on how to rectify the issue in the particular institutional context of a climate assessment. This article uses qualitative research methods to analyze social science integration in the United States’ Fourth National Climate Assessment. It presents findings from focus groups held with social science– and nonsocial science–trained report authors. It finds that knowledge governance, or the formal and informal mechanisms shaping how information is produced and used, and cultural worldviews about the role of social sciences in assessments and assessments in society, affected social science integration. Report authors’ principal orientation toward the social sciences was as a means of achieving what they saw as the assessment’s public function, namely, to support education, decision-making, and action. Author expertise, report framing, and knowledge systems were other key themes that emerged. Based on this analysis, we propose potential pathways toward coequal intellectual partnerships in assessments by expanding the diversity of chapter teams’ expertise, enhancing connections between authors and society, reconsidering report framing, and broadening inclusion of knowledge systems. We also discuss the potential role of applying social science theories and methods throughout the report life cycle from framing and engagement to evaluation.

Significance Statement

We wanted to understand why the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment used the social sciences as it did in order to identify opportunities and obstacles for enhancing social science inclusion. To do so, we held focus groups with assessment authors on their experiences with writing the report. This approach lends insight into the evolving integration of social sciences in climate assessments. Its implications for how to better integrate the social and biogeophysical sciences may be of particular interest to authors and managers of global change assessments and to other readers working on interdisciplinary climate research projects. Future studies could investigate similarities and differences in incorporating the social sciences into global, national, and state-level assessments.

Restricted access
Yueqi Li
,
Hao-Che Wu
,
Alex Greer
, and
David O. Huntsman

Abstract

Tornadoes are responsible for considerable property damage and loss of life across Oklahoma. While several studies have explored drivers of tornado adjustment behaviors, their results are not consistent in terms of their significance and direction. To address this shortcoming in the literature, we surveyed households using a disproportionate stratified sampling procedure from counties in Oklahoma that frequently experience tornado threats to explore drivers of adjustments. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore relationships among variables highlighted in the protection motivation theory (PMT) and related literature that affect adjustment intentions and risk perceptions. Overall, we found that the factors highlighted in the PMT are effective at explaining households’ intentions of adopting adjustment behaviors associated with tornado hazards. Threat appraisals, however, were less important than coping appraisals in explaining tornado hazard adjustment intentions. In further analysis, we grouped adjustments as 1) basic (e.g., flashlight, food supply, and water supply) and 2) complex (e.g., insurance and storm shelter), and we found that while coping appraisals are significant drivers of both adjustment categories, the effect of threat appraisals is only significant for complex adjustment intentions. We also found that emotional responses to hazards are major drivers of threat appraisals, stronger than perceived knowledge and hazard salience. Moreover, we found that demographic characteristics affect both adjustment intentions and threat appraisals. The additions to the PMT and categorization of adjustment activities improve our understanding of the PMT in different contexts. Such insights provide scholars and emergency managers with strategies for risk communication efforts.

Significance Statement

Tornadoes have caused considerable property damage and loss of life across the state of Oklahoma. Here, we utilize the protection motivation theory (PMT) to explore drivers of tornado hazard adjustment intentions by surveying households from counties in Oklahoma that frequently experience tornadoes. Overall, we found that threat appraisals and coping appraisals produce differential effects depending on the type of hazard adjustment in question. Our findings show that risk perceptions are not a significant explanatory variable of basic adjustments (e.g., flashlight, food supply, and water supply) but are a significant explanatory variable of complex adjustments (e.g., insurance and storm shelter). Future work should provide broader perspectives on how to advance the PMT to better explain adjustment intentions for various hazards.

Restricted access
Andrew Noviello
,
Sameer Menghani
,
Shaan Choudhri
,
Ian Lee
,
Bhushan Mohanraj
, and
Alexander Noviello

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change promises to bring existential changes to human society in the coming years. One such example of these changes is the increasing frequency of extreme weather, capable of causing significant damage. Despite this, many Americans are acutely unaware of the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events, perhaps due to a lack of direct messaging about it. This study analyzed the effects of natural disasters on climate change discussion sentiment and volume through news media and Twitter posts. The study hypothesized that specific major natural disasters would lead to increases in the number of climate-change-related Twitter posts and news articles, as well as more positive climate sentiment, indicative of belief in the severity of global warming. Through an analysis of almost 35 million climate-change-related tweets and 300,000+ news articles, along with the collection of over 130 million natural-disaster-related tweets published in the United States between 2010 and 2020, media volume rose an average of 10% around specific extreme weather events, corroborating the first aspect of the hypothesis. The ratio of positive to negative sentiment tweets, however, decreased, suggesting the tendency of extreme weather to elicit more response from climate change deniers than supporters. Thus, increased climate change discussion around major natural disasters represents a missed opportunity for continuing to drive forward climate change messaging and awareness in the United States.

Restricted access