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Kathleen Sherman-Morris, Holly Lussenden, Alexandra Kent, and Caroline MacDonald

Abstract

NOAA has recently placed greater emphasis on implementing social science findings into its products, but perceptions of social science research among National Weather Service offices have not been gauged. To this end, Warning Coordination Meteorologists (WCMs) were surveyed regarding the importance of social science research themes to their local offices. WCMs were also asked to rate their knowledge about several prominent topics and to state their opinions about potential problem issues, such as false alarms, hype, and message inconsistency. Sixty-one WCMs responded to the survey, representing each U.S. climate region. The respondents were favorable toward NOAA’s attention to social science, and nearly half have contacted or have been contacted by a social scientist. WCMs rated research themes that addressed how to communicate a message effectively and why individuals do not take action during a warning as being more important. They also rated their knowledge of why someone does not take action during a warning as being the lowest. WCMs expressed agreement that hype, inconsistency, and false alarms are “key problems” for their areas, but rated false alarms the least problematic. They also expressed agreement that inconsistency and false alarms influence credibility, as well as the precautions people take during warnings. Finally, respondents described their own most pressing research questions. The importance of behavior and communication was repeated throughout the open-ended questions. Prominent themes included how to make the message more effective and how to get people to respond in an appropriate way upon receiving warning messages.

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Neda Kazemi, Maryam Sharifzadeh, and Mostafa Ahmadvand

Abstract

Cold stress is a major environmental constraint that limits nut productivity worldwide. Late spring frost is identified as a yield-reducing factor in Persian walnut production as well. Despite significant improvements in cold and freezing tolerance methods, orchardists have not taken advantage of these recommended protection methods. This study examined determinants of walnut orchardists’ frost-protection behavior, using the extended theory of planned behavior (TPB) as a conceptual framework. Based on TPB assumptions, frost-protection behavior is mediated by a series of constructs. The purpose of this research was to examine the role of TPB variables (extended by orchard-system profile) in meeting the necessities of performing active and passive methods of frost protection. A total of 91 orchardists completed a baseline questionnaire that included the TPB constructs. The present investigation was carried out in the major walnut growing site of Sepidan County, western Fars Province, Iran. The results from the hierarchical multiple regression showed that the behavioral attitude, perceived behavioral control (PBC), intention, orchard-system profile, and interaction of orchard-system features and PBC were significant predictors of frost-protection behavior in the prospective sample. Results of the present study provided evidence that the extended TPB is a useful framework for understanding orchardists’ frost-protection behavior.

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Johanna Nalau, Susanne Becken, Johanna Schliephack, Meg Parsons, Cilla Brown, and Brendan Mackey

Abstract

Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is increasingly being advocated as a climate adaptation approach that can deliver multiple benefits to communities. EbA scholarship argues that community-based projects can strengthen those ecosystems that deliver critical services to communities and in doing so enhance community resilience. In particular, the inclusion of indigenous and traditional knowledge (ITK) into community-based EbA projects is positioned as critical to successful climate adaptation. Yet, there is surprisingly little investigation into how ITK is being defined and incorporated into EbA initiatives. This paper critically reviews EbA literature and provides empirical examples from Vanuatu and Samoa to demonstrate the different ways ITK relates to EbA projects. We find that there is widespread recognition that ITK is important for indigenous and local communities and can be employed successfully in EbA. However, this recognition is more aspirational than practical and is not being necessarily translated into ITK-informed or ITK-driven EbA projects. ITK should not be conceptualized simply as a collection of local environmental information that is integrated with Western scientific knowledge. Instead, ITK is part of nested knowledge systems (information–practices–worldviews) of indigenous peoples. This knowledge includes local natural resource management, sociocultural governance structures, social norms, spiritual beliefs, and historical and contemporary experiences of colonial dispossession and marginalization. At present, most EbA projects focus on the provision of information to main decision-makers only; however, since ITK is held collectively, it is essential that entire communities are included in ITK EbA projects. There is a huge potential for researchers and ITK holders to coproduce knowledge that would be best placed to drive climate adaptation in a changing world.

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Barrett F. Gutter, Kathleen Sherman-Morris, and Michael E. Brown

Abstract

A great deal of research has been conducted regarding tornado warnings and protective actions taken, including some studies in which respondents were presented with hypothetical tornado warning scenarios. Much less research has been conducted in which respondents were presented with tornado watch scenarios, even though they cover a larger area and longer time period, thus potentially disrupting a far greater number of people. To address this lack of research, surveys were used to determine the influence of severe weather watches on planned Saturday afternoon and evening activities away from the immediate vicinity of the respondent’s home. Respondents were presented a hypothetical watch scenario, in which they had some activity planned for later that afternoon or evening. Each respondent rated his or her likelihood to continue an activity depending on the severity of the watch and the length of the activity. Respondents were provided information about each hypothetical watch including duration and primary threats. Responses from the survey indicated that as the severity of the watch or the length of the activity increased, the likelihood of the respondent continuing the activity decreased. For a severe thunderstorm watch, a tornado watch, and a particularly dangerous situation (PDS) tornado watch, 36.1%, 51.2%, and 80.2% of the respondents, respectively, would not continue an activity lasting 30 min or longer.

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Theresa Jedd, Deborah Bathke, Duane Gill, Bimal Paul, Nicole Wall, Tonya Bernadt, Jacob Petr, Anthony Mucia, and Milan Wall

Abstract

Rural towns are especially susceptible to the effects of drought because their economies are dependent on natural resources. However, they are also resilient in many ways to natural hazards because they are rich in civic engagement and social capital. Because of the diverse nature of drought’s impacts, understanding its complex dynamics and its effects requires a multidisciplinary approach. To study these dynamics, this research combines appreciative inquiry, the Community Capitals Framework, and a range of climatological monitoring data to assess the 2012–14 Great Plains drought’s effect on McCook, Nebraska. Community coping measures, such as water-use reduction and public health programs, were designed to address the immediate effects of heat and scant rainfall during the initial summer and the subsequent years. Residents generally reported the community was better prepared than in previous droughts, including the persistent multiyear early-2000s drought. However, the results highlight wide variation in community perspectives about the drought’s severity and impacts, as well as divergent experiences and coping responses. Despite these factors, we find evidence of the transformative potential of moving from drought coping to drought mitigation. We attribute the city’s resilience to the ability to draw upon prior experience with droughts, having a formal municipal plan, and strong human and social capital to coordinate individual knowledge and expertise across agencies. We suggest that droughts have served a catalytic function, prompting the community to transform land-use practices, water conservation planning, and built infrastructure in lasting ways.

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Enayatollah Homaie Rad, Shahrokh Yousefzadeh-Chabok, Zahra Mohtasham-Amiri, Naeima Khodadadi-Hasankiadeh, Ali Davoudi-Kiakalayeh, Leila Kouchakinezhad-Eramsadati, and Anita Reihanian

Abstract

Driving in rain is very dangerous, and drivers seem not to drive properly whenever it rains. In such situations, the risk of driving increases on rainy days, especially after a prolonged dry period. This would be a problem for drivers steering on slippery roads. In this study, the effect of dry spells on road traffic accidents and resulting mortality in Rasht, Iran, located in the southern margin of the Caspian Sea, in a 3-yr period from 21 March 2014 to 19 March 2017 was examined using time series patterns. The results of the study showed that the first day after a dry spell had the greatest impact on road accidents and resulting injuries and deaths. It was also found that with increased length of a dry spell, the risk of accidents and related deaths and injuries rises.

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Michelle E. Saunders, Kevin D. Ash, and Jennifer M. Collins

Abstract

Weather radar is now widely viewed by the general public in the United States via television, computers/tablets, and smartphones. Anyone can consult near-real-time maps and animations of weather radar data when weather conditions are a factor. However, the usefulness of weather radar data for each user depends on a complex interaction of factors. There have been few studies providing conceptual arguments and empirical data to better understand what the most important factors are and to comprehend patterns of public weather radar use across the United States. The first part of this research provides a basic conceptual framework for research investigating the usefulness of weather radar displays as a source of weather information and as a decision aid. The second part aims to uncover several factors that influence the perceived usefulness rating of the National Weather Service (NWS) website’s weather radar display at both national and regional levels using variables gathered from the 2014 NWS customer satisfaction survey alongside relevant geographic and climatological variables. Data analyses include spatial clustering and ordinal regression utilized within a generalized linear model methodology. Overall, respondents who are more familiar with the NWS and their products, as well as those who indicate they are more likely to take action based on information provided by the NWS, are more likely to find the NWS radar display useful. Geographically, the NWS radar display is most useful to persons residing in the southern United States. Lightning is the most important hazard associated with higher radar usefulness ratings.

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David M. Schultz, Timothy M. DelSole, Robert M. Rauber, and Walter A. Robinson
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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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