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Teresa A. Myers, Edward W. Maibach, Bernadette Woods Placky, Kimberly L. Henry, Michael D. Slater, and Keith L. Seitter

Abstract

Climate Matters is a localized climate change reporting resources program developed to support television (TV) weathercasters across the United States. Developed as a pilot test in one media market in 2010, it launched nationwide in 2013; in the autumn of 2019 more than 797 weathercasters were participating in the program. In this paper we present evidence of the impact of the Climate Matters program on Americans’ science-based understanding of climate change. We analyzed three sets of data in a multilevel model: 20 nationally representative surveys of American adults conducted biannually since 2010 (n = 23 635), data on when and how frequently Climate Matters stories were aired in each U.S. media market, and data describing the demographic, economic, and climatic conditions in each media market. We hypothesized that 1) reporting about climate change by TV weathercasters will increase science-based public understanding of climate change and 2) this effect will be stronger for people who pay more attention to local weather forecasts. Our results partially support the first hypothesis: controlling for market-level factors (population size, temperature, political ideology, and economic prosperity) and individual-level factors (age, education, income, gender, and political ideology), there is a significant positive association between the amount of Climate Matters reporting and some key indicators of science-based understanding (including that climate change is occurring, is primarily human caused, and causes harm). However, there was no evidence for the second hypothesis. These findings suggest that climate reporting by TV weathercasters, as enabled by the Climate Matters program, may be increasing the climate literacy of the American people.

Open access
Yujie Wang, Lianchun Song, Chris Hewitt, Nicola Golding, and Zili Huang

Abstract

The primary needs for climate services in China, in the form of climate information for decision-making, are to better prepare for and manage meteorological-related disasters, adaptation to climate change, and sustainable development. In this paper, the vision, structure, content, and governance of the China Framework for Climate Services, which is designed to respond to these primary needs, is described. This paper reflects on practice, lessons, and experience developing and delivering climate services in China for disaster risk reduction, agriculture, water, energy, urbanization, and major engineering projects. Four key aspects of successful climate services are highlighted: the transition of climate research to operational climate services; delivering relevant, tailored, and usable climate information; effective engagement between users and providers of climate services; and building interdisciplinary professional teams. Key challenges and opportunities for climate services are recognized in this paper: a growing gap between climate science and services capability and societal need, a lack of awareness in user communities of the climate service value for their activities, and the important need for closer and more meaningful interactions between users and providers of climate services. The delivery and uptake of high-quality, relevant, usable, and effective climate services will facilitate climate-smart decisions that will reduce climate risks and improve Chinese societal resilience.

Open access
Shannon Osaka, James Painter, Peter Walton, and Abby Halperin

Abstract

Extreme event attribution (EEA) is a relatively new branch of climate science combining weather observations and modeling to assess and quantify whether and to what extent anthropogenic climate change altered extreme weather events (such as heat waves, droughts, and floods). Such weather events are frequently depicted in the media, which enhances the potential of EEA coverage to serve as a tool to communicate on-the-ground climate impacts to the general public. However, few academic papers have systematically analyzed EEA’s media representation. This paper helps to fill this literature gap through a comprehensive analysis of media coverage of the 2011–17 California drought, with specific attention to the types of attribution and uncertainty represented. Results from an analysis of five U.S. media outlets between 2014 and 2015 indicate that the connection between the drought and climate change was covered widely in both local and national news. However, legitimate differences in the methods underpinning the attribution studies performed by different researchers often resulted in a frame of scientific uncertainty or disagreement in the media coverage. While this case study shows substantial media interest in attribution science, it also raises important challenges for scientists and others communicating the results of multiple attribution studies via the media.

Open access
Jun-Jie Chang, Yi-Ming Wei, Xiao-Chen Yuan, Hua Liao, and Bi-Ying Yu

Abstract

China, the second largest economy in the world, covers a large area spanning multiple climate zones, with varying economic conditions across regions. Given this variety in climate and economic conditions, global warming is expected to have heterogeneous economic impacts across the country. This study uses annual average temperature to conduct an empirical research from a top-down perspective to evaluate the nonlinear impacts of temperature change on aggregate economic output in China. We find that there is an inverted U-shaped relationship between temperature and economic growth at the provincial level, with a turning point at 12.2°C. The regional and national economic impacts are projected under the shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) and representative concentration pathways (RCPs). As future temperature rises, the economic impacts are positive in the northeast, north, and northwest regions but negative in the south, east, central, and southwest regions. Based on SSP5, the decrement in the GDP per capita of China would reach 16.0% under RCP2.6 and 27.0% under RCP8.5.

Restricted access
Henry P. Huntington and Gary M. Lackmann
Open access
Corey Davis, Heather Aldridge, Ryan Boyles, Karen S. McNeal, Lindsay Maudlin, and Rachel Atkins

Abstract

While there is growing demand for use of climate model projections to understand the potential impacts of future climate on resources, there is a lack of effective visuals that convey the range of possible climates across spatial scales and with uncertainties that potential users need to inform their impact assessments and studies. We use usability testing including eye tracking to explore how a group of resource professionals (foresters) interpret and understand a series of graphical representations of future climate change, housed within a web-based decision support system (DSS), that address limitations identified in other tools. We find that a three-map layout effectively communicates the spread of future climate projections spatially, that location-specific information is effectively communicated if depicted both spatially on a map and temporally on a time series plot, and that model error metrics may be useful for communicating uncertainty and in demonstrating the utility of these future climate datasets.

Open access
John Y. N. Cho and James M. Kurdzo

Abstract

An econometric geospatial benefit model for nontornadic thunderstorm wind casualty reduction is developed for meteorological radar network planning. Regression analyses on 22 years (1998–2019) of storm event and warning data show, likely for the first time, a clear dependence of nontornadic severe thunderstorm warning performance on radar coverage. Furthermore, nontornadic thunderstorm wind casualty rates are observed to be negatively correlated with better warning performance. In combination, these statistical relationships form the basis of a cost model that can be differenced between radar network configurations to generate geospatial benefit density maps. This model, applied to the current contiguous U.S. weather radar network, yields a benefit estimate of $207 million (M) yr−1 relative to no radar coverage at all. The remaining benefit pool with respect to enhanced radar coverage and scan update rate is about $36M yr−1. Aggregating these nontornadic thunderstorm wind results with estimates from earlier tornado and flash flood cost reduction models yields a total benefit of $1.12 billion yr−1 for the present-day radars and a remaining radar-based benefit pool of $778M yr−1.

Restricted access
Amy Savage, Lisa Schubert, Corey Huber, Hilary Bambrick, Nina Hall, and Bill Bellotti

Abstract

Climate change, malnutrition, and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are three of the most significant health challenges of this century, and they share fundamental underlying drivers. Pacific Island countries (PICs) are at the forefront of the impacts of climate change, which is likely to affect food and nutrition security (FNS) directly and indirectly, and many countries have existing high NCD burdens. This paper surveys the climate change adaptation (CCA) landscape in one PIC, Vanuatu. It explores the extent to which FNS and diet-related NCDs are considered and addressed within CCA initiatives. A comprehensive review of the literature related to CCA, FNS, and NCDs in Vanuatu was combined with 32 semistructured interviews with key experts and stakeholders. This study found that some promising groundwork has been laid for tackling the effects of climate change on FNS in policy and governance, agriculture, coastal management, and nutrition. However, several opportunities for strengthening CCA were identified: targeting urban populations; complementary integration of disaster risk reduction and CCA; incorporating local knowledge; applying a systems-based framing of NCDs as climate-sensitive health risks; and emphasizing human-centered, community-led CCA. Vanuatu will continue to be affected by accelerating climate change. A strong foundation for CCA presents clear opportunities for further development. As food and nutrition insecurity and diet-related NCD risk factors are increasingly exacerbated by climate change, alongside other socioeconomic drivers, it is crucial to find new and innovative ways to increase transformational resilience and adaptive capacity that also improve nutrition and health outcomes.

Restricted access
Jessica N. Burgeno and Susan L. Joslyn

Abstract

For high-impact weather events, forecasts often start days in advance. Forecasters believe that consistency among subsequent forecasts is important to user trust and can be reluctant to make changes when newer, potentially more accurate information becomes available. However, to date, there is little empirical evidence for an effect of inconsistency among weather forecasts on user trust, although the reduction in trust due to inaccuracy is well documented. The experimental studies reported here compared the effects of forecast inconsistency and inaccuracy on user trust. Participants made several school closure decisions based on snow accumulation forecasts for one and two days prior to the target event. Consistency and accuracy were varied systematically. Although inconsistency reduced user trust, the effect of the reduction due to inaccuracy was greater in most cases suggesting that it is inadvisable for forecasters to sacrifice accuracy in favor of consistency.

Free access
I. Martínez-Zarzoso

Abstract

This paper investigates the extent to which international migration can be explained by climate change and whether this relationship varies systematically between groups of countries. The primary focus is to further investigate the heterogeneous effect found for countries with different income levels using a yearly migration dataset and allowing the country grouping to be data driven. For this purpose, a recently proposed statistical technique is used, the grouped fixed-effects (GFE) estimator, which groups the countries of origin according to the data generating process. The results indicate that, on average, increasing population-weighted temperatures are associated with an increase in emigration rates but that the pattern differs between groups. The relationship is driven by a group of countries mainly located in Africa and central Asia. No statistically robust association is found between population-weighted precipitation and emigration.

Free access