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James E. Overland
,
Elizabeth Siddon
,
Gay Sheffield
,
Thomas J. Ballinger
, and
Cody Szuwalski

Abstract

Our goal is to tie climate-scale meteorology to regional physics and ecosystem changes and demonstrate a few resulting impacts to which regional peoples are having to respond in the Alaskan Bering Strait region. The sea ice loss events in the winters of 2017/18 and 2018/19 initiated a series of marine environmental, ecological, and industrial changes through a chain of connected events from jet-stream meanders, storms, southerly winds, warmer sea temperatures, and minimum sea ice cover. Resulting impacts continue as coastal communities respond to ongoing nutritional, cultural, and economic challenges. Global warming potentially initiated these events through a weakened atmospheric Arctic Front. Ecological shifts included a transition/reorganization of the Bering Strait regional marine ecosystem. Subsequent changes included shifts in zooplankton species, increases in large-bodied, predatory fish species moving northward, an ice seal unusual mortality event, and seven consecutive years of multispecies seabird die-offs. These changes in the marine ecosystem create a serious food security concern. Ongoing impacts include large, toxic harmful algal blooms and coastal erosion. Recent changes to the maritime industries of the transboundary waters of the Bering Strait include increased industrial ship traffic, planned development of the Port of Nome, and northward proximity of foreign fishing activity. Projections for the next decades are for an increasing frequency of low sea ice years and continuing ecosystem and industrial transitions that contribute to increasing economic and food security concerns for the 16 coastal communities that compose the Bering Strait region.

Significance Statement

Extreme events in the atmosphere/oceans and resultant record sea ice minimums in 2018 and 2019 were manifested in marine ecosystem transitions and maritime industry impacts. This led to ongoing concerns over the food safety and food security of marine resources essential to the nutritional, cultural, and economic well-being of Alaskan coastal communities of the Bering Strait region. Persistent weakening of the Arctic Front may signal an increased frequency of low sea ice events into the next decades.

Open access
Deniss J. Martinez
,
Alison M. Meadow
,
Beth Rose Middleton Manning
, and
Julie Maldonado

Abstract

Climate and weather-related disasters in California illustrate the need for immediate climate change action - both mitigation to reduce impacts and adaptation to protect our communities, relatives, and the ecosystems we depend upon. Indigenous frontline communities face even greater threats from climate impacts due to historical and political legacies of environmental injustice. Climate change adaptation actions have proven challenging to implement as communities struggle to access necessary climate data at appropriate scales, identify effective strategies that address community priorities, and obtain resources to act, at a whole-community level. In this paper, we present three examples of Indigenous communities in California that have used a climate justice approach to climate change adaptation. These communities are drawing upon community knowledge and expertise to address the challenges of adaptation planning, and taking actions that center community priorities. The three cases address emergency preparation and response, cultural burning and fire management, and community organizing and social cohesion. Across these spheres, they illustrate the ways in which a community-based and climate justice-focused approach to adaptation can be effective in addressing current threats, while also addressing the legacy of imposed, socially constructed vulnerability and environmental injustices. Because we recognize the need for multiple knowledges and skills in adaptation actions, we include recommendations that have emerged based on what’s been learned through these long-standing and engaged participatory research collaborations for climate scientists who wish to contribute to climate justice-focused adaptation efforts by using scientific data to support – not supplant – community efforts, target funding toward genuine community engagement and adaptation actions, and become aware of the historical and political legacies that created the climate vulnerabilities and injustices evident today.

Open access
Tomáš Púčik
,
David Rýva
,
Miloslav Staněk
,
Miroslav Šinger
,
Pieter Groenemeijer
,
Georg Pistotnik
,
Rainer Kaltenberger
,
Miloš Zich
,
Jan Koláček
, and
Alois Holzer

Abstract

A violent tornado occurred in Czechia on 24 June 2021, killing 6 and causing at least 576 injuries. There were more indirect than direct injuries. The tornado was rated IF4 using a draft version of the International Fujita scale. This was the first violent tornado in Czechia and one of only 17 violent, i.e. (I)F4 or higher, tornadoes that occurred in Europe since 1950. The tornado reached the width of 3.5 km, the widest on record in Europe. The case presents an important opportunity to investigate the impacts of such strong tornado in the area, where they are rare, no tornado warnings are issued and where the building standards are different from the typically investigated tornadoes in the United States.

We discuss challenges in organizing the damage survey, which took 3 days and involved meteorologists from 3 countries. A wind damage survey guide to aid mitigating these was written by the European Severe Storms Laboratory and initiated the development of a wind damage surveying app.

The damage survey showed that most of the inhabited buildings built using heavy masonry and rigid ceilings did not collapse in IF2/3 winds, but only with IF4 winds. Eyewitness reports collected after the tornado show that many people were not aware of the risk associated with the tornado. Eventually, most people tried to shelter in the most secure part of the house, but it was often too late. This case highlights the need for a better communication of tornado risk to the public in Europe.

Open access
Julia Olson
and
Patricia Pinto da Silva

Abstract

The use of oral histories in social scientific approaches to climate change has enabled richly detailed explorations of the situated, meaning-laden dimensions of local experiences and knowledge. But “big data” approaches have been increasingly advocated as a means to scale up understandings from individual projects, through better utilizing large collections of qualitative data sources. This article considers the issues raised by such secondary analysis, using the NOAA Voices Oral History Archives, an online database with a focus on coastal communities and groups thought especially vulnerable to climatic changes. Coupling largerscale methods such as text-mining with more traditional methods such as close reading reveals variations across time and space in the ways people talk about environmental changes, underscoring how memories and experiences shape understandings and the subtlety with which these differences are articulated and culturally inscribed. Looking across multiple collections illuminates those shared understandings, points of contention, and differences between communities that might be obscured if decontextualized, showing the importance of “small data” approaches to “big data” to fully understand the deeply cultural understandings, perceptions, and histories of environmental changes such as climate change.

Open access
Free access
Claire L. Little
,
David M. Schultz
,
Belay B. Yimer
, and
Anna L. Beukenhorst

Abstract

Although many people believe their pain fluctuates with weather conditions, both weather and pain may be associated with time spent outside. For example, pleasant weather may mean that people spend more time outside doing physical activity and exposed to the weather, leading to more (or less) pain, and poor weather or severe pain may keep people inside, sedentary, and not exposed to the weather. We conducted a smartphone study where participants with chronic pain reported daily pain severity, as well as time spent outside. We address the relationship between four weather variables (temperature, dewpoint temperature, pressure, and wind speed) and pain by proposing a three-step approach to untangle their effects: (i) propose a set of plausible directed acyclic graphs (also known as DAGs) that account for potential roles of time spent outside (e.g., collider, effect modifier, mediator), (ii) analyze the compatibility of the observed data with the assumed model, and (iii) identify the most plausible model by combining evidence from the observed data and domain-specific knowledge. We found that the data do not support time spent outside as a collider or mediator of the relationship between weather variables and pain. On the other hand, time spent outside modifies the effect between temperature and pain, as well as wind speed and pain, with the effect being absent on days that participants spent inside and present if they spent some or all of the day outside. Our results show the utility of using directed acyclic graphs for studying causal inference.

Open access
Jelmer Jeuring
,
Eirik Mikal Samuelsen
,
Machiel Lamers
,
Malte Müller
,
Bjørn Åge Hjøllo
,
Laurent Bertino
, and
Berit Hagen

Abstract

Previous research indicates that forecast uncertainty can, in certain formats and decision contexts, provide actionable insights that help users in their decision-making. However, how to best disseminate forecast uncertainty, which factors affect successful uptake, and how forecast uncertainty transforms into better decision-making remains an ongoing topic for discussion in both academic and operational contexts. Interpreting and using visualizations of forecast uncertainty are not straightforward, and choosing how to represent uncertainty in forecast products should be dependent on the specific audience in mind. We present findings from an interactive stakeholder workshop that aimed to advance context-based insights on the usability of graphical representations of forecast uncertainty in the field of maritime operations. The workshop involved participants from various maritime sectors, including cruise tourism, fisheries, government, private forecast service providers, and research/academia. Geographically situated in Norway, the workshop employed sea spray icing as a use case for various decision scenario exercises, using both fixed probability and fixed threshold formats, supplemented with temporal ensemble diagrams. Accumulated operational expertise and characteristics of the forecast information itself, such as color coding and different forms of forecast uncertainty visualizations, were found to affect perceptions of decision-making quality. Findings can inform codesign processes of translating ensemble forecasts into usable and useful public and commercial forecast information services. The collaborative nature of the workshop facilitated knowledge sharing and coproduction between forecast providers and users. Overall, the study highlights the importance of incorporating methodological approaches that consider the complex and dynamic operational contexts of ensemble-based forecast provision, communication, and use.

Significance Statement

We wanted to understand how maps showing uncertainty in weather forecasts can help maritime users in their operational decisions. We organized a workshop with Norwegian maritime stakeholders and forecasters, who interpreted maps that combined layers of maritime operational activities and the likelihood of sea spray icing (an important hazard for ships operating on higher latitudes). The results show that contextual knowledge, and the use visual formats such as traffic light colors may help users to understand the maps. The results will help to better communicate weather forecasts to maritime users and gives suggestions about how to involve users in codesigning forecast products. Follow-up research could use our approach to investigate other hazardous conditions, such as wind, waves and sea ice.

Open access
Yu Yu
,
Lei Cao
,
Zhihua Ren
,
Yan Xu
,
Wei Feng
, and
Licheng Zhao

Abstract

Crowdsourced meteorological data may provide a useful supplement to operational observations. However, the willingness of various parties to share their data remains unclear. Here, a survey on data applications was carried out to investigate the willingness to participate in crowdsourcing observations. Of the 21 responses, 71% expressed difficulty in meeting the requirement of data services using only their own observations and revealed that they would be willing to exchange data with other parties under some framework; moreover, 90% expressed a willingness to participate in crowdsourcing observations. The findings suggest that in a way the social foundation of crowdsourcing has been established in China. Additionally, a case study on precipitation monitoring was performed in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province, South China. Three sources of hourly measurements were combined after data quality control and calibration and interpolated over Guangzhou (gridded precipitation was based on combined data, and it is referred to as the COM grid). Subsequently, the COM grid was compared with the grid data based only on observations from the China Meteorological Administration using three indices, namely, cumulative precipitation, precipitation intensity, and heavy rain hours. The results indicate that requirement for more observations could benefit from crowdsourced data, especially on uneven terrain and in regions covered by sparse surface stations.

Open access
Anuska Narayanan
,
Brad G. Peter
, and
David Keellings

Abstract

In recent decades, changes in precipitation, temperature, and air circulation patterns have led to increases in the occurrences of extreme weather events. These events can have devastating effects on communities causing destruction to property and croplands, as well as negative impacts on public health. As changes in the climate are projected to continue throughout the remainder of the twenty-first century, the ability for a community to plan for extreme weather events is essential to its survival. In this paper, we introduce a new index for examining the potential impacts of climate extremes on community resilience throughout the conterminous United States at the county level. We use an established disaster resilience index (baseline resilience indicators for communities) together with a revised version of the U.S. climate extremes index to create a combined measure of climate resilience—the climate extremes resilience index (CERI). To demonstrate the index, we test it on the 2021 Pacific Northwest heat wave, a 1000-yr weather event made 150 times as likely by climate change. To promote the use of the index, we also introduce a Google Earth Engine web app to calculate and map the CERI for the CONUS. By developing a web application for calculating the CERI, we expand the use of climate-resilience indices beyond theoretical applications. We anticipate that this tool and the CERI could be useful for policy makers to plan for climate-related disasters, as well as help the public with understanding and visualizing the impacts of extreme climatic events.

Open access
Free access