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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
Renie Oelviani
,
Witono Adiyoga
,
I Gede Mahatma Yuda Bakti
,
Tota Suhendrata
,
Afrizal Malik
,
Chanifah Chanifah
,
Samijan Samijan
,
Dewi Sahara
,
Himawan Arif Sutanto
,
Munir Eti Wulanjari
,
Budi Utomo
,
Arif Susila
,
Ratih Kurnia Jatuningtyas
, and
Yennita Sihombing

Abstract

Climate change has negatively affected agricultural productivity in Indonesia. This study conducted a bibliometric analysis of the literature on soil salinity caused by climate change, discussed the impact of soil salinity on Indonesian agriculture, examined various strategies for adaptation to salinity, and delivered some ideas for future research. An analysis of 39 identified Scopus articles related to farmers’ vulnerability, adaptation, and practices was carried out. This study was performed in November 2022 and employed Bibliometrix R package and VOSviewer software. Findings show that salinity has left Indonesia’s agriculture vulnerable to reduced food production, especially for small-scale farmers losing crop yields and land. Various adaptation measures have been initiated, such as restoring soil fertility and using saline-resistant varieties. Irrigation facilities improvements have also been carried out to reduce the risks of soil salinity expansion. Farmers also try social action measures, such as selling assets, borrowing money for daily needs, and even changing jobs. However, for farmers to survive and sustain their businesses, any such measures need to produce satisfactory results. A review of the existing literature reveals a lack of soil salinity studies in Indonesia, which simultaneously points to research gaps not only on the issue of the impact of salinity on income and the vulnerability of small farmers but also on the development of adaptation strategies to address salinity due to climate change.

Significance Statement

Soil salinization caused by climate change is a disastrous problem in Indonesia’s coastal areas that presents a major challenge to the productivity of rice agriculture and difficulties in addressing sustainable food security. To provide researchers with a clear understanding of the current emphasis and future trends in climate change–induced salinity research, systematically analyzing the relevant literature in the existing research area is necessary. The bibliometric analysis in this study shows that research on salinity due to climate change in Indonesia still needs to be completed. Further comprehensive studies to find a focus for managing coastal soil salinity are urgently required to reduce vulnerability and increase adaptation to salinity due to climate change.

Open access
Angelina Dumlao
and
Neil Debbage

Abstract

A cool environment is critical for protecting vulnerable populations from the adverse health effects associated with exposure to extreme heat. Although cooling centers are commonly established to provide temporary heat relief to the public, there is limited research exploring the spatial distributions and accessibility of cooling centers across cities in Texas. The intent of this study was to examine the spatial characteristics of cooling center locations throughout the Texas Triangle megaregion and evaluate the proximity of cooling centers to vulnerable populations. Specifically, spatial clustering analysis was used to quantitatively characterize the spatial distributions of cooling centers in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas, while spatial lag regression was conducted to evaluate the relationships between indicators of socioeconomic vulnerability and proximity to cooling centers. The findings indicated that cooling centers exhibited clustering at short distances, which suggested there were potential spatial redundancies. The distributions of the cooling centers also illustrated possible accessibility issues due to the concentration of the locations in urban cores. The spatial lag regression models highlighted several problematic relationships, as elderly and disabled populations were located at significantly greater distances from cooling centers in San Antonio and Dallas, respectively. However, numerous insignificant relationships were also observed, which suggested that cooling center locations did not consistently marginalize or favor vulnerable populations. Therefore, a higher degree of intentionality that explicitly considers cooling center proximity to the vulnerable populations they aim to serve might be beneficial as planners and emergency managers determine cooling center locations in response to extreme heat.

Open access
O. V. Wilhelmi
,
B. C. Chamberlain
,
R. E. Morss
,
J. L. Demuth
,
H. D. Walpole
,
J. Boehnert
,
J. M. Gambill
,
H. Lazrus
, and
J. G. Dobson

Abstract

Geovisualizations play a central role in communicating hurricane storm surge risks to the public by connecting information about the hazard to a place. Meanwhile, people connect to places through meaning, functions, and emotional bond, known as a sense of place. The mixed-method approach presented in this paper focuses on the intersection of sense of place, geovisualization, and risk communication. We explored place meaning, scale of place, and place attachment in the coastal communities in Georgia and South Carolina. We conducted cognitive mapping focus groups and developed a series of geovisualizations of storm surge risk with varying representations of place. We then investigated people’s ability to connect visual storm surge information to a place and understand their risk by testing these geovisualizations in a large population survey (n = 1442). We found that a 2D regional-scale map displayed together with a 3D abstract representation of a neighborhood was the most helpful in enabling people to relate to a place, quickly make sense of the information, and understand the risk. Our results showed that while the geovisualizations of storm surge risk can be effective generally, they were less effective in several important and vulnerable groups. We found substantial impacts of race, income, map-reading ability, place attachment, and scale of place on how people connected the storm surge risk shown in the visual to a place. These findings have implications for future research and for considering the way weather forecasters and emergency managers communicate storm surge information with diverse audiences using geovisualizations.

Significance Statement

Weather forecasters and emergency managers often use geovisualizations to communicate hurricane storm surge risks and threats to the public. Despite the important role that geovisualizations play, few studies have empirically investigated their effectiveness in hazardous weather risk communication. With the overarching goal of understanding how geovisualizations enable coastal residents to understand and respond to risk, we use an interdisciplinary approach to create new knowledge about the effectiveness of geovisualizations in storm surge risk communication. Our results show substantial impacts of sociodemographic factors across many of the measures that enable people to connect to a place through visualizations. These findings have implications for communicating geospatially varying risk to diverse audiences.

Open access
Taylor A. DeWinter-Maciag
and
Renee A. McPherson

Abstract

Although decision-making in response to tornado warnings is well researched, most studies do not examine whether individual responses to these warnings vary across different geographical locations and demographic groups. This gap is addressed by using data from a decision experiment that places participants virtually in a simulated tornado warning and asks them to minimize the costs of their decisions. The authors examine the following: 1) what demographic attributes may contribute to choices to minimize costs to protect assets at a specific location in a tornado warning, 2) whether there is a spatial component to how these attributes influence decision-making, and 3) if there are specific U.S. regions where individuals do not make protective decisions that minimize their overall cost. Multilevel regression analysis and poststratification are applied to data from the simulated decision experiment to estimate which demographic attributes and National Weather Service County Warning Areas are most associated with the costliest protective decisions. The results are then analyzed using spatial autocorrelation to identify spatial patterns. Results indicate that sex, race, and ethnicity are important factors that influence protection decisions. Findings also show that people across the southern portions of the United States tend to make more costly protective decisions, as defined in this work.

Significance Statement

Tornadoes, although rare, threaten both life and property. Studies have shown that certain demographic groups are more negatively impacted by disasters than others and are at higher risk of severe weather hazards. We ask if there are demographic characteristics or geographic locations in common among people who are more prone to making protection decisions during tornado warnings to minimize economic costs. Results can help warning providers, such as the National Weather Service, direct resources and education to specific types of decision-makers or locations to improve sheltering decisions.

Open access
Mary Anne T. Clive
,
Emma E. H. Doyle
,
Sally H. Potter
,
Chris Noble
, and
David M. Johnston

Abstract

Multiday severe weather outlooks can inform planning beyond the hour-to-day windows of warnings and watches. Outlooks can be complex to visualize, as they represent large-scale weather phenomena overlapping across several days at varying levels of uncertainty. Here, we present the results of a survey (n = 417) that explores how visual variables affect comprehension, inferences, and intended decision-making in a hypothetical scenario with the New Zealand MetService Severe Weather Outlook. We propose that visualization of the time window, forecast area, icons, and uncertainty can influence perceptions and decision-making based on four key findings. First, composite-style outlooks that depict multiple days of weather on one map can lead to biased perceptions of the forecast. When responding to questions about a day for which participants accurately reported there was no severe weather forecast, those who viewed a composite outlook reported higher likelihoods of severe weather occurring, higher levels of concern about travel, and higher likelihoods of changing plans compared to those who viewed outlooks that showed weather for each day on a separate map, suggesting that they perceived the forecast to underrepresent the likelihood of severe weather on that day. Second, presenting uncertainty in an extrinsic way (e.g., “low”) can lead to more accurate estimates of likelihood than intrinsic formats (e.g., hue variation). Third, shaded forecast areas may lead to higher levels of confidence in the forecast than outlined forecast areas. Fourth, inclusion of weather icons can improve comprehension in some conditions. The results demonstrate how visualization can affect decision-making about severe weather and support several evidence-based considerations for effective design of long-term forecasts.

Significance Statement

Severe weather outlook forecasts can be hard to clearly communicate because they show multiple weather patterns across multiple days and regions with varying uncertainty. The purpose of this study is to explore how visual elements of outlook design affect the way that people understand this complex content. We had three separate groups respond to the same series of questions while viewing different modified versions of the MetService Severe Weather Outlook in Aotearoa New Zealand and compared their responses. We find that the way the outlooks’ time window, forecast area, icons, and uncertainty are visualized can influence how people understand outlooks and make inferences and decisions about severe weather. We discuss how these influences may impact communication and action and present several evidence-based considerations for effective outlook design.

Open access
Caily Schwartz
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Mark Svoboda
, and
Madeline Goebel

Abstract

Because flash drought is a relatively new phenomenon in drought research, defining the concept is critical for scientists and decision-makers. Having detrimental impacts on many sectors, it is important to have a consistent definition and understanding of flash drought, between experts and stakeholders, to provide early warning to the community. This study focuses on onset and progression of conditions and demonstrates the difference in flash drought identification for 15 events across six quantitative definitions of flash drought that use the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM). Five flash drought events have been studied in the literature while 10 additional events have been perceived as flash drought by stakeholders. The results show that two of six definitions consistently capture the earliest onset of flash drought and include a large percent area in the identification. A qualitative analysis of management challenges and needs determined by stakeholders was completed using survey data. The results found that managing impacts and better communication and education were the top challenges and more data and enhanced and efficient communication as the top needs to better monitor, manage, and respond to flash droughts. The results demonstrate the need for assessing the characteristics of the definitions to enhance communication and monitoring strategies for large and small-scale flash droughts.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to better understand how different numerical flash drought definitions characterize multiple flash drought events and how these definitions are useful in addressing the needs and challenges of stakeholders. This is important because definitions may capture different areas in flash droughts, which can impact how end users identify a flash drought. Further, this study uses events identified by the literature and by people familiar with drought monitoring. From these findings, definitions that capture flash drought earliest would help address the challenge of rapid onset and the need of quicker data. Further, definitions by sector would be beneficial to address the scale of impacts. This study identifies the importance of definitions for early warning systems.

Open access
Shari Fox
,
Alex Crawford
,
Michelle McCrystall
,
Julienne Stroeve
,
Jennifer Lukovich
,
Nicole Loeb
,
Jerry Natanine
, and
Mark Serreze

Abstract

Arctic communities are experienced with severe weather, but impacts can still be serious, particularly when the intensity or persistence of hazardous conditions is extreme. Such was the case for the community of Clyde River (Kangiqtugaapik), Nunavut, Canada, which experienced 33 blizzard days during winter 2021/22—likely the most at Clyde River since at least 1978/79. Blizzard conditions resulted from unusually frequent high winds rather than excessive snowfall. The most severe stretch included eight blizzard days over an 11-day period, with top wind gusts of 98 km h−1. Winds caused severe drifting, covering homes and blocking streets. Broken heavy equipment, including snow-clearing machines, compounded the impacts, leaving homes without essential services like water delivery and sewage pump-out for days. Residents reported the storms and resulting impacts as some of the worst in memory. The drifting and volume of snow, combined with the lack of available resources to manage it, obliged the community to declare a state of emergency. Projections of increased Arctic precipitation and extreme weather events points to the need for communities to have proper resources and supports, including preparedness and adaptation and mitigation strategies, so they can be better equipped to handle storm and blizzard impacts such as those experienced at Clyde River in the winter of 2021/22. Additional steps that can be implemented to better support and prepare communities include investing in preparedness planning, expanded and enhanced weather information and services, community land-based programming to transfer Inuit knowledge and skills, assessing the usefulness of current forecasts, and new approaches to community planning.

Significance Statement

In this study, we consider the winter of 2021/22, during which the community of Clyde River (Kangiqtugaapik), Nunavut experienced 33 days with blizzard conditions—more than any other year since at least 1978/79. Blizzards are characterized by strong winds and blowing snow. Low visibility impedes travel, and drifting snow blocks roads and can bury equipment and buildings. In this case, broken snow-clearing equipment and other infrastructure challenges also hampered the community’s ability to respond, and residents went days without essential services. Several studies suggest that extreme winds will become more common in the Baffin Bay region in the future. This study demonstrates the need for proper resourcing of communities for preparedness, response, and adaptation strategies, especially with the possibility of extreme winter weather becoming more common.

Open access
Kathryn Semmens
,
Rachel Hogan Carr
,
Burrell Montz
, and
Keri Maxfield

Abstract

Communicating the threat of severe winter weather is not simply a matter of the number of inches of snow or degrees of cold; it also considers the potential impacts of the storm. The winter storm severity index (WSSI) is a graphical product from the National Weather Service that presents anticipated impacts from forecast winter weather for a range of winter conditions. To assess the utility of the WSSI and how an impact-based winter weather forecast product is interpreted and used to inform decision-making, a mixed-methods social science study was conducted by the Nurture Nature Center in coordination with the Weather Prediction Center. Through focus groups and surveys, testing in the Hydrometeorological Testbed, and iterations on design and category descriptions, several themes emerged about how professional stakeholders understand, interpret, and use this product for communicating about impending winter weather. There is perceived utility in the WSSI for situational awareness and as part of a package of other information to inform decision-making. However, there is variability in interpretations of impacts, resulting from differences in geography, community readiness, and experience, among other factors, which creates complications in communicating the forecast. Furthermore, many users seek quantities related to winter weather, suggesting that education about what impact-based products include and what data are shown is necessary. Understanding the factors that influence perspectives on impact levels and the variable needs for winter weather information across regions improves forecasters’ abilities to effectively communicate and provide critical information that helps end users prepare for severe winter weather.

Significance Statement

Effectively communicating severe winter weather is critical to supporting communities in being prepared for and mitigating weather-related losses and damages. The winter storm severity index focuses on impacts to provide awareness of impending winter weather, information that is useful but not always interpreted consistently, requiring an understanding of factors influencing perspectives on impact levels and user education.

Open access
Philipp Schneider
,
Annegret Thieken
, and
Ariane Walz

Abstract

Management of adverse health-related effects from heat waves requires comprehensive and accessible sources of information. This paper examines the effects of temperature and air pollution on human health and identifies areas with increased occurrence of emergency ambulance dispatches in the city of Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany, and discusses the applicability for health care interventions and urban planning. An overdispersed Poisson generalized additive model was used to examine and predict the association and potential lag of exposure between temperature, air pollution, and three types of emergency ambulance dispatches during the study period from 2011 to 2019. A linear model was used to estimate heat-wave effects. A line density function was used to identify areas with increased occurrence of dispatches. Significant effects of temperature were detected for nontraumatic and cardiovascular diseases after exceeding a threshold temperature. The exposure–response relationships showed an increased relative risk up to two days after exposure for nontraumatic and cardiovascular diseases. Results indicate a significant association between presence of heat waves and cardiovascular diseases with up to 17% (95% confidence interval: 5.9%–30.0%) increased relative risk on a heat-wave day relative to a non-heat-wave day. Dispatches for cardiovascular diseases occur more often in areas with a high population and building density, especially in summer. The analyses identified hotspots of heat-related dispatches in areas with increased population and building density and provides baseline information for interventions in future urban planning and public health care management based on data commonly available even in small cities.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how authorities in even medium- and small-sized cities can assess health impacts of heat stress or air pollution using free accessible emergency ambulance data and software to incorporate the outcomes in their spatial planning or health care management. This is important as ongoing climate change requires all urban communities to adapt and reduce adverse impacts of climate change and air pollution. Our results show that extreme heat leads to increased emergency ambulance dispatches in a medium-sized city in Germany and provide a spatial overview of where health care interventions and urban planning can focus to mitigate adverse effects.

Open access