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David J. Cox, Joy E. Losee, and Gregory D. Webster

Abstract

The human and economic costs of severe weather damage can be mitigated by appropriate preparation. Despite the benefits, researchers have only begun to examine if known decision-making frameworks apply to severe-weather-related decisions. Using experiments, we found that a hyperbolic discounting function accurately described participant decisions to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather, although only delays of 1 month or longer significantly changed decisions to evacuate, suggesting that severe weather that is not imminent does not affect evacuation decisions. In contrast, the probability that a storm would impact the participant influenced evacuation and resource allocation decisions. To influence people’s evacuation decisions, weather forecasters and community planers should focus on disseminating probabilistic information when focusing on short-term weather threats (e.g., hurricanes); delay information appears to affect people’s evacuation decision only for longer-term threats, which may hold promise for climate-change warnings.

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SETH P. HOWARD, ALISON P. BOEHMER, KEVIN M. SIMMONS, and KIM E. KLOCKOW-MCCLAIN

Abstract

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storm and annually cause billions in damage along with the threat of fatalities and injuries. To improve tornado warnings, the National Weather Service is considering a change from a deterministic to a probabilistic paradigm. While studies have been conducted on how individual behavior may change with the new While studies have been conducted on how individual behavior may change with the new businesses. This project is a response to the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, H.R. 353, which calls for the use of social and behavioral science to study and improve storm warning systems. The goal is to discuss business response to probabilistic tornado warnings through descriptive and regression-based statistics using a survey administered to businesses in North Texas. Prior to release, the survey was vetted by a focus group comprised of businesses in Grayson County, TX who assisted in the creation of a behavior ranking scale. The scale ranked behaviors from low to high effort. Responses allowed for determining if the business reacted to the warning in a passive or active manner. Returned surveys came from large and small businesses in North Texas and represent a wide variety of industries. Regression analysis explores which variables have the greatest influence on businesses’ behavior and show that beyond increases in probability from the probabilistic warnings, trust in the warning provides the most significant change to behavior.

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Hellen E. Msemo, Andrea L. Taylor, Cathryn E. Birch, Andrew J. Dougill, and Andrew Hartley

Abstract

This paper investigates the value of weather and climate information at different timescales for decision making in the Tanzanian disaster risk reduction sector using non-monetary approaches. Interviews and surveys were conducted with institutions responsible for disaster management at national, regional and district level. A range of values were identified including: 1) making informed decisions for disaster preparedness, response, recovery and restoration related activities; 2) tailoring of directives and actions based on sectoral impacts; 3) identification of hotspot areas for diseases outbreaks and surplus food production. However, while, a number of guidelines, policies, acts and regulations for disaster risk reduction exist it is not clear how well they promote the use of weather and climate information across climate sensitive sectors. Nonetheless, we find that well-structured disaster risk reduction coordination across sectors and institutions from the national to district level exists, although there is a need for further development of integrated Early Warning Systems, and a common platform to evaluate effectiveness and usefulness of weather warnings and advisories. Key challenges to address in increasing the uptake of weather warnings and advisories include language barriers, limited dissemination to rural areas, and limited awareness of forecasts. Based on the findings of this study, we recommend further quantitative evaluation of the skill of the severe weather warnings issued by the Tanzania Meteorological Authority, and an assessment of how decisions and actions are made by recipients of the warnings in the disaster risk reduction sector at different stages in the warning, response and recovery process.

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Christine D. MILLER HESED, Michael PAOLISSO, Elizabeth R. VAN DOLAH, and Katherine J. JOHNSON

Abstract

Climate adaptation is context specific and inclusion of diverse forms of knowledge is crucial for developing resilient social-ecological systems. Emphasis on local inclusion is increasing, yet participatory approaches often fall short of facilitating meaningful engagement of diverse forms of knowledge. A central challenge is the lack of a comprehensive and comparative understanding of the social-ecological knowledge that various stakeholders use to inform adaptation decisions. We employed cultural consensus analysis to quantitatively measure and compare social-ecological knowledge within and across three stakeholder groups - government employees, researchers, and local residents in rural coastal Maryland. The results show that 1) local residents placed more emphasis on addressing socio-economic and cultural changes than researchers and government employees, and 2) that the greatest variation in social-ecological knowledge was found among local residents. These insights yielded by cultural consensus analysis are beneficial for facilitating more inclusive adaptation planning for resilient social-ecological systems.

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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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Jeannette Sutton, Laura Fischer, and Michele M. Wood

Abstract

Effective warning messages should tell people what they should do, how they should do it, and how to maximize their health and safety. Guidance essentially delivers two types of information: 1) information that instructs people about the actions to take in response to a threat, and 2) information about how and why these recommended protective actions will reduce harm. However, recent research reported that while automated tornado warnings, sent by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center via the account @NWStornado on Twitter, included useful information about the location of the threat, the potential impacts, and populations at risk, it failed to provide content that would contribute to successful protective actions. In this experimental study we investigate how the inclusion and presentation of protective action guidance affects participant perceptions of a tornado warning message and their perceived ability to act upon the information (i.e., self- and response-efficacy). We find that the inclusion of protective action guidance results an increase in the participants’ understanding of the message, their ability to decide what to do, and their perceived self- and response-efficacy. Knowing how to take action to protect oneself, and believing the actions will make oneself safe, are key motivators to taking action when faced with a significant threat. Future warning research should draw from other persuasive messaging and health behavior theories, and should include self- and response- efficacy as important causal factors. It should also look across additional hazards to determine if these outcomes differ by the length of forewarning and hazard type.

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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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