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Alexander J. Ross, Ryan C. Grow, Lauren D. Hayhurst, Haley A. MacLeod, Graydon I. McKee, Kyle W. Stratton, Marissa E. Wegher, and Michael D. Rennie

Abstract

Groundhog Day is a widespread North American ritual that marks the onset of spring, with festivities centered around animals that humans believe have abilities to make seasonal predictions. Yet, the collective success of groundhog Marmota monax prognosticators has never been rigorously tested. Here, we propose the local climate-predicted phenology of early blooming spring plants (Carolina spring beauty, or Claytonia caroliniana, which overlaps in native range with groundhogs) as a novel and relevant descriptor of spring onset that can be applied comparatively across a broad geographical range. Of 530 unique groundhog-year predictions across 33 different locations, spring onset was correctly predicted by groundhogs exactly 50% of the time. While no singular groundhog predicted the timing of spring with any statistical significance, there were a handful of groundhogs with notable records of both successful and unsuccessful predictions: Essex Ed (Essex, Connecticut), Stonewall Jackson (Wantage, New Jersey), and Chuckles (Manchester, Connecticut) correctly predicted spring onset over 70% of the time. By contrast, Buckeye Chuck (Marion, Ohio), Dunkirk Dave (Dunkirk, New York), and Holland Huckleberry (Holland, Ohio) made incorrect predictions over 70% of the time. The two most widely recognized and long-tenured groundhogs in their respective countries—Wiarton Willie (Canada) and Punxsutawney Phil (United States)—had success rates of 54% and 52%, respectively, despite over 150 collective guesses. Using a novel phenological indicator of spring, this study determined, without a shadow of a doubt, that groundhog prognosticating abilities for the arrival of spring are no better than chance.

Open access
K. Fagiewicz, P. Churski, T. Herodowicz, P. Kaczmarek, P. Lupa, J. Morawska-Jancelewicz, and A. Mizgajski

Abstract

This study determines the conditions and provides a recommendation for fostering cocreation for climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCA&M). In postulating that insufficient cocreation by stakeholders in the quadruple helix model is an important factor contributing to the low effectiveness of climate actions in the regions, we have focused our research on identifying real stakeholder engagement in climate action and identifying the needs, barriers, and drivers for strengthening the cocreation process. We identified the needs for action highlighted by stakeholders as having an impact on reducing barriers and stimulating drivers. We treated the identified needs for action as deep leverage points (intent and design) focused on three realms—knowledge, values, and institutions—in which engagement and cocreation can be strengthened and have the potential to increase the effectiveness of climate action taken by stakeholders within our quadruple helix. We recommend knowledge-based cocreation, which puts the importance of climate action in the value system and leads to paradigm reevaluation. The implementation of the identified needs for action requires the support of institutions, whereby they develop standards of cooperation and mechanisms for their implementation as a sustainable framework for stakeholder cooperation. The research has proved how the quadruple helix operates for climate action in the Poznań Agglomeration. We believe that this case study can be a reference point for regions at a similar level of development, and the methods used and results obtained can be applied in similar real contexts to foster local stakeholders in climate action.

Open access
Free access
Meaghan L. Guckian, Ezra M. Markowitz, Clay S. Tucker, Elsita Kiekebusch, Toni Klemm, Lindsey Middleton, Adrienne Wootten, and Michelle D. Staudinger

Abstract

Online science communities can serve as powerful platforms for advancing scientific knowledge, capacity, and outreach by increasing collaboration and information sharing among geographically distant peers, practitioners, and the public. Here, we examine the value and role of the Early Career Climate Forum (ECCF), a climate-focused online science community that is based in the United States and is dedicated to training and providing support to the next generation of climate scientists. In a survey of community users and contributors, we find that the ECCF played a unique role in providing users access to career resources as well as climate-related research and insights. Respondents also indicated that the ECCF provides them with a strong sense of community and a sense of hope for the future of climate science research. These findings highlight the importance of online science communities in shaping and supporting the next generation of scientists and practitioners working at the science–management interface on climate change issues.

Open access
Sally Potter, Sara Harrison, and Peter Kreft

Abstract

Warnings about impending hazards help to minimize the impacts and reduce the risk of the hazard through encouraging an appropriate and timely behavioral response. Many hydrometeorological agencies are moving toward impact-based forecast and warning (IBFW) systems, as encouraged by the World Meteorological Organization. Yet little research has been conducted on such systems from the perspectives of agencies who are or would be involved in their implementation. We investigated the challenges and benefits of IBFW systems as perceived by participants from agencies internationally and within New Zealand. Interviews and workshops were held with meteorologists and weather forecasters, flood forecasters and hydrologists, and emergency managers. We found that the benefits of implementing IBFW systems included a perceived increase in the understanding of the potential impacts by the public, added awareness of antecedent conditions by forecasters, a possible reduction in “false alarms,” and increased interagency communication. Challenges identified by the participants included whether the system should be designed for individuals or society, a lack of impact data, verification of warnings based on impacts, a conflict with roles and responsibilities, the potential for conflicting messages, and the increased burden on agencies providing information to forecasters with a perception of little benefit in return. We argue that IBFWs could be designed for individual members of the public, with an increased focus on understanding vulnerability and capacities, and that more impact data need to be collected and stored to inform future warnings. Increased interagency coordination would assist with rapid decision-making and the success of IBFWs.

Open access
Christopher A. Fiebrich, Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska, Phillip B. Chilson, and Elizabeth A. Pillar-Little

Abstract

In recent years, technological developments in engineering and meteorology have provided the opportunity to introduce innovative extensions to traditional surface mesonets through the application of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS). This new approach of measuring vertical profiles of weather variables by means of UAS in the atmospheric boundary layer, in addition to surface stations, has been termed a 3D mesonet. Technological innovations of a potential 3D mesonet have recently been described in the literature. However, a broader question remains about potential socioeconomic and environmental benefits and beneficiaries of this new extension. Given that the concept of a 3D mesonet is a new idea, studies about socioeconomic and environmental advantages of this network (as compared with traditional mesonets) do not appear to exist in the peer-reviewed literature. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing a first perspective on potential benefits and ripple effects of a 3D mesonet, addressing both the added value and prevented losses in specific sectoral applications and for different groups. A better understanding of qualitative economic aspects related to a 3D mesonet can facilitate future developments of this technology for more cost-effective applications and to mitigate environmental challenges in more efficient ways.

Open access
Joshua Ettinger, Peter Walton, James Painter, Shannon Osaka, and Friederike E. L. Otto

Abstract

The science of extreme event attribution (EEA)—which connects specific extreme weather events with anthropogenic climate change—could prove useful for engaging the public about climate change. However, there is limited empirical research examining EEA as a climate change communication tool. To help fill this gap, we conducted focus groups with members of the U.K. public to explore benefits and challenges of utilizing EEA results in climate change advocacy messages. Testing a range of verbal and visual approaches for communicating EEA, we found that EEA shows significant promise for climate change communication because of its ability to connect novel, attention-grabbing, and event-specific scientific information to personal experiences and observations of extreme events. Communication challenges include adequately capturing nuances around extreme weather risks, vulnerability, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction; expressing scientific uncertainty without undermining accessibility of key findings; and difficulties interpreting mathematical aspects of EEA results. On the basis of our findings, we provide recommendations to help address these challenges when communicating EEA results beyond the climate science community. We conclude that EEA can help catalyze important dialogues about the links between extreme weather and human-driven climate change.

Open access
Kelly Helm Smith, Mark E. Burbach, Michael J. Hayes, Patrick E. Guinan, Andrew J. Tyre, Brian Fuchs, Tonya Haigh, and Mark D. Svoboda

Abstract

Drought-related decision-making and policy should go beyond numeric hydrometeorological data to incorporate information on how drought affects people, livelihoods, and ecosystems. The effects of drought are nested within environmental and human systems, and relevant data may not exist in readily accessible form. For example, drought may reduce forage growth, compounded by both late-season freezes and management decisions. An effort to gather crowdsourced drought observations in Missouri in 2018 yielded a much higher number of observations than did previous related efforts. Here we examine 1) the interests, circumstances, history, and recruitment messaging that coincided to produce a high number of reports in a short time; 2) whether and how information from volunteer observers was useful to state decision-makers and to U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) authors; and 3) potential for complementary use of stakeholder and citizen science reports in assessing trustworthiness of volunteer-provided information. State officials and the Cattlemen’s Association made requests for reports, clearly linked to improving the accuracy of the USDM and the related financial benefit. Well-timed requests provided a focus for people’s energy and a reason to invest their time. State officials made use of the dense spatial coverage that observers provided. USDM authors were very cautious about a surge of reports coinciding closely with financial incentives linked to the Livestock Forage Disaster program. An after-the-fact comparison between stakeholder reports and parallel citizen science reports suggests that the two could be complementary, with potential for developing protocols to facilitate real-time use.

Open access
Ross Westoby, Rachel Clissold, and Karen E. McNamara

Abstract

As climate change accelerates, effective adaptation is an urgent and unavoidable priority. Bottom-up approaches such as community-based adaptation have been portrayed as the panacea. Recent studies are, however, highlighting the ongoing and inherent issues with normative “community” conceptualizations that assume a geographically bound, temporally fixed, and harmonious unit. Despite documentation on the negative impact these problematic assumptions can have on adaptation outcomes, adaptation at the community scale remains the preferred option for project delivery in highly exposed places such as the Pacific Islands region. More creative entry points that are less charged with problematic assumptions are needed at the local scale. This paper draws from three examples in Vanuatu to offer compelling alternative entry points for adaptation: 1) a rural technical college embedded within an Anglican mission village, 2) a whole-of-island approach, and 3) the “collective of vendors” at marketplaces. We offer hope by identifying ways to expand on and complement existing, restricted notions of community and, through this, to improve adaptation outcomes.

Free access
Mary McRae, Ross A. Lee, Scott Steinschneider, and Frank Galgano

Abstract

Increases in maximum and minimum air temperatures resulting from anthropogenic climate change will present challenges to aircraft performance. Elevated density altitude (DA) reduces aircraft and engine performance and has a direct impact on operational capabilities. The frequency of higher DA will increase with the combination of higher air temperatures and higher dewpoint temperatures. The inclusion of dewpoint temperature in DA projections will become increasingly critical as minimum air temperatures rise. High DA impacts aircraft performance in the following ways: reduction in power because the engine takes in less air; reduction in thrust because a propeller is less efficient in less dense air; reduction in lift because less dense air exerts less force on the airfoils. For fixed-wing aircraft, the performance impacts include decreased maximum takeoff weight and increased true airspeed, which results in longer takeoff and landing distance. For rotary-wing aircraft, the performance impacts include reduced power margin, reduced maximum gross weight, reduced hover ceiling, and reduced rate of climb. In this research, downscaled and bias-corrected maximum and minimum air temperatures for future time periods are collected and analyzed for a selected site: Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. Impacts corresponding to DA thresholds are identified and integrated into risk probability matrices enabling quantifiable comparisons. As the magnitude and frequency of high DA occurrences are projected to increase as a result of climate change, it is imperative for military mission planners and acquisition officers to comprehend and utilize these projections in their decision-making processes.

Free access