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Zhiming Yang, Bo Yang, Pengfei Liu, Yunquan Zhang, and Xiao-Chen Yuan

Abstract

Climate may significantly affect human society. Few studies have focused on the temperature impact on residents’ health, especially mental health status. This paper uses 98 423 observations in China to study the relationship between temperature and health, based on the China Family Panel Studies survey during 2010–16. We analyze the health effects of extreme hot and cold weather and compare the effects under different social demographic factors including gender, age, and income. We find that temperature and health status exhibit a nonlinear relationship. Women and low-income households are more likely to be impacted by extreme cold, whereas men, the elderly, and high-income households are more sensitive to extreme heat. Our results highlight the potential effects of extreme temperatures on physical and mental health and provide implications for future policy decisions to protect human health under a changing climate.

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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
Jen Henderson, Lisa Dilling, Rebecca Morss, Olga Wilhelmi, and Ursula Rick

Abstract

Unintended consequences from decisions made in one part of a social–ecological system in response to climate hazards can magnify vulnerabilities for others in the same system. Yet anticipating or identifying these cascades and spillovers in real time is difficult. Social learning is an important component of adaptation that has the ability to facilitate adaptive capacity by mobilizing multiple actors around a common resource to manage collectively in ways that build local knowledge, reflective practices, and a broader understanding of contexts for decisions. While the foundations of social learning in resource management have been theorized in the literature, empirical examples of unintended consequences that trigger social learning are few. This article analyzes two cases of drought decisions made along the Arkansas River basin in Colorado; in each, social learning occurred after actors experienced unanticipated impacts from others’ decisions. Methods include interviews with actors, both individual and institutional representatives of different sectors (recreation, agriculture, etc.), and a review of relevant historical and policy documents. The study identifies four features of social learning that aided actors’ responses to unanticipated consequences: governance structures that facilitated more holistic river management; relationship boundaries that expanded beyond small-scale decisions to capture interactions and emergent problems; knowledge of others’ previous experience, whether direct or indirect; and creation of spaces for safer experimentation with adaptation changes. Results identify empirical examples of actors who successfully learned to adapt together to unexpected consequences and thus may provide insight for others collectively managing drought extremes.

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Katie A. Wilson, Burkely T. Gallo, Patrick Skinner, Adam Clark, Pamela Heinselman, and Jessica J. Choate

Abstract

Convection-allowing model ensemble guidance, such as that provided by the Warn-on-Forecast System (WoFS), is designed to provide predictions of individual thunderstorm hazards within the next 0–6 h. The WoFS web viewer provides a large suite of storm and environmental attribute products, but the applicability of these products to the National Weather Service forecast process has not been objectively documented. Therefore, this study describes an experimental forecasting task designed to investigate what WoFS products forecasters accessed and how they accessed them for a total of 26 cases (comprised of 13 weather events, each worked by two forecasters). Analysis of web access log data revealed that in all 26 cases, product accesses were dominated in the reflectivity, rotation, hail, and surface wind categories. However, the number of different product types viewed and the number of transitions between products varied in each case. Therefore, the Levenshtein (Edit Distance) method was used to compute similarity scores across all 26 cases, which helped identify what it meant for relatively similar vs. dissimilar navigation of WoFS products. The Spearman’s Rank correlation coefficient (R) results found that forecasters working the same weather event had higher similarity scores for events that produced more tornado reports and for events in which forecasters had higher performance scores. The findings from this study will influence subsequent efforts for further improving WoFS products and developing an efficient and effective user interface for operational applications.

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Nikolai Bobylev, Sebastien Gadal, Valery Konyshev, Maria Lagutina, and Alexander Sergunin

Abstract

Russian Arctic is a highly urbanized region, with most towns built in the Soviet era to facilitate extraction industries as well as provide and maintain military facilities. Global environmental and developmental changes, as well as national political decisions open up Russia’s Arctic to massive investment, industrial and socioeconomic development. How do Russian Arctic cities, towns, and municipalities reflect on new opportunities in terms of designing their climate change adaptation strategies at a local level? Starting with theoretical discourse on urban climate change adaptation strategy, this research examines state-of-the-art, challenges and trends in planning for adaptation measures in Russia’s Arctic industrial centers. Special attention is given to a comparative analysis of the cities’ climate change adaptation strategies. The role of civil society institutions and business community in the adaptation strategy planning process is explored. Moreover, conflict sensitive approaches to ensure participatory processes for designing and implementing adaptation measures are discussed. The field component of research is based on cities of Apatity, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Norilsk, Salekhard, Severodvinsk and towns of Monchegorsk, Nickel and Vorkuta. The study concludes that in spite of significant challenges identified, the total “balance sheet” of the Arctic cities’ efforts to enhance their adaptive capacities is quite positive: Russian northern urban settlements do their best in addressing existing challenges via planning for sustainability approach. However, there is more to do and municipalities should learn from one another’s experiences, as the different approaches can be helpful in developing adequate climate change adaptation strategies at the local level.

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Alexia Karwat and Christian L. E. Franzke

Abstract

Over the last few decades heat waves have intensified and have led to excess mortality. While the probability of being affected by heat stress has significantly increased, the risk of heat mortality is rarely quantified. This quantification of heat mortality risk is necessary for systematic adaptation measures. Furthermore, heat mortality records are sparse and short, which presents a challenge for assessing heat mortality risk for future climate projections. It is therefore crucial to derive indicators for a systematic heat mortality risk assessment. Here, risk indicators based on temperature and mortality data are developed and applied to major cities in Germany, France and Spain, using regional climate model simulations. Bias-corrected daily maximum, minimum and wet-bulb temperatures show increasing trends in future climate projections for most considered cities. Additionally, we derive a relationship between daily maximum temperatures and mortality for producing future projections of heat mortality risk due to extreme temperatures based on low (Representative Concentration Pathway; RCP2.6) and high (RCP8.5) emission scenario future climate projections. Our results illustrate that heat mortality increases by about 0.9%/decade in Germany, 1.7%/decade in France and 7.9%/decade in Spain for RCP8.5 by 2050. The future climate projections also show that wet-bulb temperatures above 30°C will be reached regularly with maxima above 40°C likely by 2050. Our results suggest a significant increase of heat mortality in the future, especially in Spain. On average, our results indicate that the mortality risk trend is almost twice as high in all three countries for the RCP8.5 scenario compared to RCP2.6.

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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.

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Susmita Mitra, Pradeep K. Mehta, and Sudipta Kumar Mishra

Abstract

Groundwater salinity, caused by over-extraction and aggravated by climate change, negatively affects crop productivity and threatens global food security. Poor farmers are vulnerable due to low adaptive capacity. A better understanding of their perceptions and adaptation is important to inform policies for successful adaptation. This paper represents an important study by exploring the same in Mewat, a salinity-affected socioeconomically backward district of northern India. The study uses a mixed-method approach with both secondary data and a primary survey of 250 farmers. A large number of farmers perceived negative impacts on water, crop, income, and assets; and adapt in various ways like water management, crop, and land management, livelihood diversification, and shift towards surface water irrigation. Perceived impacts differed between richer and poorer farmers, whereas adaptation measures varied across the educational, social, and economic backgrounds of farmers. Lack of awareness, education, skill development, and livelihood-opportunities are found to be hindrances, whereas institutional and infrastructural support as facilitators of adaptation. Comparing the findings with global experiences we argued that developed countries intervene more in the policy level and infrastructure, whereas in developing countries, adaptation strategies are local, context-specific, and low-cost. The insights from our study will be useful for intervention in Mewat and similar areas across the developing world. We further argue that farmers take adaptation decisions based on perceived impacts and cost-benefit analysis. Therefore, future research work on quantifying the negative impacts and cost-benefit analysis of various adaptation measures will be useful to ensure successful adaptation in the region and beyond.

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Zeke Baker

Abstract

A major implication of climate change is the declining capacity for communities to anticipate future conditions and scenarios. In the Bering Sea region of Western Alaska, this situation is acute and holds manifold consequences, particularly for the region’s primarily Indigenous residents. Based upon interviews and fieldwork in two Bering Sea communities and among regional weather forecasters, this paper explores the intertwined temporalities of weather, climate, and social life. I demonstrate that anticipatory culture, which otherwise structures anticipatory practices regarding climate, local weather, and social life, is beset by temporal dissonance across three timescales. First, dramatic climatic and ecosystem shifts reshape how Indigenous Peoples envision themselves as culturally inhabiting a long-range history and future. Second, changes in weather patterns, ecological cycles, and sea ice dynamics upset evaluations of seasonality, leading to a pervasive sense of unpredictability. Third, on the everyday timescale, social and technological change complicates mariners’ evaluations of risk and economic (commercial and subsistence) decision-making. I conclude by connecting these three socio-environmental temporalities to the temporal frames that primarily characterize weather and climate services, with an emphasis on the US National Weather Service. The paper discusses how such services may further orient toward engaging socially embedded practices of anticipation in addition to formal prediction. Such an orientation can help to shape an anticipatory culture that more closely aligns meteorological and social patterns.

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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