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David M. Schultz, Timothy M. DelSole, Robert M. Rauber, and Walter A. Robinson
Open access
David R. Perkins IV, Teresa Myers, Zephi Francis, Raphael Mazzone, and Edward Maibach

Abstract

This research explores the role of weathercasters as local climate change educators and identifies attributes of those who present climate science to their viewers. In 2015, the authors attempted to survey all television weathercasters currently working in the United States (n = 2128); 478 participated, yielding a 22.5% participation rate. Using logistic regression to identify attributes of weathercasters who report on climate change on-air, it was found that the strongest predictors were participation in Climate Matters (a climate change reporting resource program) (β = 1.01, p < 0.001), personal interest in reporting on climate change (β = 0.93, p < 0.001), age (higher rates of reporting among older weathercasters) (β = 0.301, p < 0.05), and number of climate reporting interests (β = 1.37, p < 0.05). Linear regression was used to identify attributes of weathercasters who showed the most interest in climate change reporting. Weathercasters most interested in reporting about climate change on-air were more certain that climate change is happening (β = 0.344, p < 0.001), were convinced climate change is human caused (β = 0.226, p < 0.001), were older (β = 0.157, p < 0.001), and found the Third National Climate Assessment to be useful (β = 0.134, p < 0.05). Weathercasters who are personally motivated to seek and share broad scientific information, acting as “station scientists,” appear to be those who are also proactive in sharing climate change information. Assisting motivated weathercasters with programs that reduce barriers to climate change education outreach complements their abilities to educate the public regarding climate change science.

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Daniel Nohrstedt

Abstract

Collaborative forums involving multiple stakeholders responding to natural hazards are prevalent, yet there is little conclusive evidence of how stakeholders exchange information across such forums and how different patterns of information exchange influence forum goals. This study analyzes information exchange among representatives of 51 organizations across 50 collaborative forums in response to weather warnings in Sweden, 2011–15. Using coded transcripts from forum meetings, the study estimates exponential random graph models to document the prevalence of network configurations of organizations across these forums. The results show that actors avoid engaging in information exchanges within closed subgroups and that no specific type or organization was particularly active in exchanging information. The study suggests that the forum structures are consistent with short-term operational goals as well as the long-term objective of these forums to sustain collaboration over time. The study discusses potential explanations for these patterns and implications for forum performance in relation to natural hazards management.

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Samuel J. Childs and Russ S. Schumacher

Abstract

Cold-season tornadoes, defined here as those occurring during November–February (NDJF), pose many societal risks. Not only do they occur when tornadoes are least common in the United States, but NDJF tornadoes also tend to be nocturnal and are most prevalent in the Southeast, where complex terrain, limited resources, and a high mobile home density add social vulnerabilities. In the period 1953–2015, within the domain of 25°–42.5°N, 75°–100°W, over 900 people were killed as a result of NDJF tornadoes. Moreover, NDJF tornado frequency is increasing much faster than that of annual tornadoes. Given the enhanced societal risk, particularly in the Southeast, effective communication between professionals and the public is imperative during a cold-season tornado event. This study investigates communication strategies and barriers from the perspective of National Weather Service and broadcast meteorologists, as well as emergency managers, through a postevent survey of four major tornado events from November 2016 to February 2017. Barriers to tornado risk communication identified by the professionals included public “me-centeredness,” inconsistent messages, and timing and meteorological uncertainties, as well as case-specific factors. Meteorologists perceived their communities as vulnerable to tornadoes in general, yet also prepared and receptive to warnings. Factors influencing perceived barriers and vulnerability are incorporated into a conceptual model of tornado risk communication, which is applicable to tornadoes in general. Ideas for overcoming these barriers include consolidation of warning graphics, collaboration between the meteorological and social science communities, and improved education of tornado risks for the most vulnerable sectors of society.

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Msafiri Yusuph Mkonda, Xinhua He, and Emma Sandell Festin

Abstract

This paper examines and compares smallholder farmers’ perceptions of climate change with the collected meteorological data (1980–2015) across the seven agroecological zones (AEZs) of Tanzania. Systematic and simple random sampling procedures were employed in the selection of districts and villages, respectively. This study used both quantitative and qualitative datasets. Quantitative data were derived from climatic records and questionnaires, while the qualitative data were widely derived from interviews and discussions. The Mann–Kendall test (software) and theme content (method) were used for data analyses. The results showed that rain has experienced a significant change in terms of patterns, frequency, and intensity, while temperature was locally increasing in all the AEZs. Moreover, the farmers’ responses to both closed and open questions indicated that most of them (>70%) noticed these alterations. Comparatively, the farmers residing in the most vulnerable AEZs, that is, arid and semiarid lands, were more responsive and sensitive to climatic impacts than those in the least vulnerable zones, such as alluvial regions. The increase in temperature and change in the rain patterns led to the decrease in crop yields. As a response to this, farmers have adopted new strategies such as early planting and the use of shorter growing crops cultivars. This study concludes that, although farmers’ perceptions were correct and echoed the meteorological/measured data in all the AEZs, adaptation and mitigation strategies are inadequate.

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Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, Baruch Fischhoff, and Benjamin Strauss

Abstract

Although the risks of flooding demand responses by communities and societies, there are also many cost-effective actions that individuals can take. The authors examine two potential determinants of such adoption: individual predisposition to act and the impact of decision aids that emphasize the risk, the actions, both, or neither (control). Respondents are a representative sample (N = 1201) of individuals in the areas most heavily affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The authors find that, in the overall sample, seeing protective actions coupled with risk information or alone produced higher rates of individuals reporting that they intended to take action preparing for future storms, compared to a control group receiving no additional information. Moreover, that occurred despite the aids reducing their perceptions of risk. The authors find that individuals who reported having taken previous action are more responsive to decision aid messages with the exception of the combined message (risk and protective actions)—which had a positive effect on those who had not acted previously, but a negative effect on those who had. These results suggest that, in communities that already are aware of their flood risks, the critical need is for authoritative, comprehensible information regarding the most feasible and cost-effective protective actions that they can take. Providing such information requires analysis to determine which actions qualify and a design process that incorporates user feedback to ensure that recommendations are easily understood and credible.

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Jennifer Collins, Robin Ersing, Amy Polen, Michelle Saunders, and Jason Senkbeil

Abstract

This study investigates the influence of individuals’ social connections in their decision to either evacuate or not evacuate in the days preceding the landfall of Hurricane Irma. Using Hurricane Irma in September 2017 as a case study, a survey was conducted on two groups (those who evacuated and those who did not evacuate) to assess people’s social connections specifically examining three dimensions: dependability, density, and diversity. These variables, together with socioeconomic variables (e.g., race/ethnicity, age, education), were considered in order to better explain the influences on evacuation decision-making. To collect accurate ephemeral decision-making data from evacuees, the surveys were completed during the evacuation for those who evacuated and shortly after the passage of Hurricane Irma for those who did not evacuate. Through statistical analyses, it was concluded that density and diversity of people’s social networks played a significant role in the decision to evacuate or not, with evacuees having more dense and diverse relationships. On the other hand, the perceived dependability of a person’s social connections (i.e., their perceived access to resources and support) did not significantly impact the decision to evacuate for Hurricane Irma. This study has important implications for adding to the knowledge base on community-based sustainable disaster preparedness and resilience.

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Nekeisha Spencer and Mikhail-Ann Urquhart

Abstract

This study estimates the impact of hurricanes on migration from 30 Central American and Caribbean countries to the United States from 1989 to 2005. In contrast to previous studies, hurricane destruction indices are employed to study the relationship of hurricanes and migration. These indices measure geographical destruction, which gives a more comprehensive and accurate view of the damage and impact that hurricanes have on the movement of people to international destinations. Controlling for the host country’s migrant stock and the home country’s income, country fixed-effects estimation shows that hurricanes have a positive impact on the ratio of the number of migrants to the home country’s population. On average, hurricanes increase migration by roughly 6%, but the impact is greater for more damaging storms. Estimating the geographical effects reveals that the size of this impact varies across countries. The most damaging storms are related to an increase up to 540% in the ratio of migrants to the home country’s population.

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Henry P. Huntington
Open access
Alexander G. Keul, Bernhard Brunner, John Allen, Katie A. Wilson, Mateusz Taszarek, Colin Price, Gary Soleiman, Sanjay Sharma, Partha Roy, Mat Said Aini, Abu Bakar Elistina, Mohd Zainal Abidin Ab Kadir, and Chandima Gomes

ABSTRACT

Weather risk perception research lacks multihazard and transcultural datasets. This hypothesis-generating study used a cognitive behavioral approach and Brunswik’s lens model for subjective risk parameters across eight countries. In Germany, Poland, Israel, the United States, Brazil, India, Malaysia, and Australia, 812 field interviews took place with a uniform set of 37 questions about weather interest, media access, elementary meteorological knowledge, weather fear, preparedness, loss due to weather, and sociodemography. The local randomized quota samples were strictly tested for sample errors; however, they cannot be considered representative for individual countries due to sample size and methodology. Highly rated subjective risks included flood, heat, tornado, and lightning. Weather fear was most prominent in the Malaysian sample and lowest in the German.

Subjective elements were further explored with bivariate correlations and a multivariate regression analysis. Sociodemography correlated with psychological variables like knowledge, interest, and fear. Fear was related with subjective risk; less educated and informed people were more fearful. A linear regression analysis identified interest, gender, housing type, education, loss due to weather, and local weather access as the significant predictors for preparedness. The level of preparedness was highest in the United States and Australia and lowest in the Malaysian and Brazilian samples. A lack of meteorological training and infrequent loss experiences make media communication important and emphasize the value of repetition for basic information. Elements of this survey can serve to monitor weather-related psychological orientations of vulnerable population groups. Finally, this survey provides a template with which larger representative transcultural multihazard perception studies can be pursued.

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