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Victoria A. Johnson, Kimberly E. Klockow-McClain, Randy A. Peppler, and Angela M. Person

Abstract

Residents of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area are frequently threatened by tornadoes. Previous research indicates that perceptions of tornado threat affect behavioral choices when severe weather threatens and, as such, are important to study. In this paper, we examine the potential influence of tornado climatology on risk perception. Residents across central Oklahoma were surveyed about their perceptions of tornado proneness for their home location, and this was compared with the local tornado climatology. Mapping and programming tools were then used to identify relationships between respondents’ perceptions and actual tornado events. Research found that some dimensions of the climatology, such as tornado frequency, nearness, and intensity, have complex effects on risk perception. In particular, tornadoes that were intense, close, and recent had the strongest positive influence on risk perception, but weaker tornadoes appeared to produce an “inoculating” effect. Additional factors were influential, including sharp spatial discontinuities between neighboring places that were not tied to any obvious physical feature or the tornado climatology. Respondents holding lower perceptions of risk also reported lower rates of intention to prepare during tornado watches. By studying place-based perceptions, this research aims to provide a scientific basis for improved communication efforts before and during tornado events and for identifying vulnerable populations.

Open access
Emma Austin, Anthony S. Kiem, Jane Rich, David Perkins, and Brian Kelly

Abstract

Drought is a global threat to public health. Increasingly, the impact of drought on mental health and wellbeing is being recognised. This paper investigates the relationship between drought and wellbeing to determine which drought indices most effectively capture wellbeing outcomes. A thorough understanding of the relationship between drought and wellbeing must consider the: (i) three aspects of drought (duration, frequency and magnitude); (ii) different types of drought (e.g. meteorological, agricultural, etc.); and (iii) the individual context of specific locations, communities and sectors. For this reason, we used a variety of drought types, drought indices, and time windows to identify the thresholds for wet and dry epochs that enhance and suppress impacts to wellbeing. Four postcodes in New South Wales (NSW), Australia are used as case studies in the analysis to highlight the spatial variability in the relationship between drought and wellbeing. The results demonstrate that the relationship between drought indices and wellbeing outcomes differs temporally, spatially and according to drought type. This paper objectively tests the relationship between commonly used drought indices and wellbeing outcomes to establish if current methods of quantifying drought effectively capture wellbeing outcomes. For funding, community programs and interventions to result in successful adaptation, it is essential to critically choose which drought index, time window and wellbeing outcome to use in empirical studies. The uncertainties associated with these relationships must be accounted for and it must also be realized that results will differ based on these decisions.

Open access
Torbjørn Selseng, Marit Klemetsen, and Tone Rusdal

Abstract

In recent decades there has been a surge in the scholarship on climate change adaptation (CCA) terminology, and diverging interpretations of the term have emerged. Given the crucial role of local governments in building societywide adaptive capacity, understanding how municipalities understand and interpret CCA is important. In this study, we analyze 12 large-scale questionnaires from 2007 to 2020 distributed to all Norwegian municipalities. Using a combination of directed and conventional content analysis of the questions and answers, we summarize and map the progress of adaptation work over the 14 years and assess the consistency and the scope of the surveys in light of the current research on climate adaptation. We find diverging views on what adaptation entails, both from the researchers, in the phrasing of questions, and from the respondents. The empirical evidence suggests an overall imbalanced interpretation of CCA, in terms of the risks and consequences we may face, the climate to which adapting is needed, and adequate adaptation strategies. We go on to discuss the implications of these findings, highlighting the need for a shared and well-communicated framework for local CCA and a closer monitoring of the actual efforts of the municipalities. If instead left unchecked, this confusion might lead to unsustainable maladaptation at the local government level throughout Norway and beyond.

Open access
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