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Brooke Fisher Liu and Anita Atwell Seate

Abstract

Since the tragic tornado outbreaks in central Alabama and Joplin, Missouri, in 2011, the National Weather Service (NWS) has increasingly emphasized the importance of supporting community partners who help to protect public safety. Through impact-based decision support services (IDSS), NWS forecasters develop relationships with their core partners to meet their partners’ decision-making needs. IDSS presents a fundamental shift in NWS forecasting through highlighting the importance of connecting with partners instead of simply providing partners with forecasts. A critical challenge to the effective implementation of IDSS is a lack of social science research evaluating the success of IDSS. This paper addresses this gap through a cross-sectional survey with 119 NWS forecasters and managers in the central and southern regions of the United States. Findings uncover how NWS forecasters and management team members evaluate the importance of IDSS. Findings also provide a new instrument for NWS field offices to assess and improve their relationships with core partners.

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Adrian Brügger, Christina Demski, and Stuart Capstick

Abstract

The proportion of the world’s population exposed to above-average monthly temperatures has been rising consistently in recent decades and will continue to grow. This and similar trends make it more likely that people will personally experience extreme weather events and seasonal changes related to climate change. A question that follows from this is to what extent experiences may influence climate-related beliefs, attitudes, and the willingness to act. Although research is being done to examine the effects of such experiences, many of these studies have two important shortcomings. First, they propose effects of experiences but remain unclear on the psychological processes that underlie those effects. Second, if they do make assumptions about psychological processes, they do not typically corroborate them with empirical evidence. In other words, a considerable body of research in this field rests on relatively unfounded intuitions. To advance the theoretical understanding of how experiences of climate change could affect the motivation to act on climate change, we introduce a conceptual framework that organizes insights from psychology along three clusters of processes: 1) noticing and remembering, 2) mental representations, and 3) risk processing and decision-making. Within each of these steps, we identify and explicate psychological processes that could occur when people personally experience climate change, and we formulate theory-based, testable hypotheses. By making assumptions explicit and tying them to findings from basic and applied research from psychology, this paper provides a solid basis for future research and for advancing theory.

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Manishka De Mel, William Solecki, Radley Horton, Ryan Bartlett, Abigail Hehmeyer, Shaun Martin, and Cynthia Rosenzweig

Abstract

Integrating climate risk information into resilience-building activities in the field is important to ensure that adaptation is based on the best available science. Despite this, many challenges exist when developing, communicating, and incorporating climate risk information. There are limited resources on how stakeholders perceive risks, use risk information, and what barriers exist to limit knowledge integration. This paper seeks to define the following: 1) What do conservation stakeholders consider to be the most significant climate risks they face now and possibly in the future? 2) What have been the most significant barriers to their using climate risk information? 3) What sources and types of knowledge would be most useful for these managers to overcome these barriers? A survey was conducted among stakeholders (n = 224) associated with World Wildlife Fund projects in tropical and subtropical countries. A very high proportion of stakeholders used climate risk information and yet faced integration-related challenges, which included too much uncertainty and the lack of a relevant scale for planning. The main factors preventing the use of climate risk information in decision-making were unavailability of climate risk information, no or limited financial or human resources available to respond, lack of organizational mandate or support, and no or limited institutional incentives. Comparing perceived current and future risks revealed a decline in concern for some future climate hazards. Survey respondents identified scientific reports, climate scientists, and online sources as the most useful information sources of climate risk information, while (i) maps and illustrations; (ii) scenarios format; and (iii) data tables, graphs, and charts were identified as user-friendly formats.

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Julia Linder and Victoria Campbell-Arvai

Abstract

In the midwestern United States, intensifying impacts from climate change necessitate adaptation by the agricultural sector. Tree fruit agriculture is uniquely vulnerable to climate change due to the long-lived nature of perennial systems, yet very few studies have addressed how fruit growers perceive climate change and are responding to climate risks. For this study, 16 semistructured interviews were conducted with Michigan tree fruit growers to understand how their climate change beliefs, beliefs about adaptive actions, and climate-related risk perceptions influence adaptation behaviors. While there was a great deal of uncertainty about the anthropogenic nature of climate change, growers generally agreed that unprecedented changes in climate and weather patterns were occurring. Because of a perception of little control over future climate impacts, most growers reactively adapted to climate risks that negatively impacted their orchards by implementing measures such as frost protection, irrigation, pesticides, and crop insurance. This study highlighted that while proactive adaptations such as crop diversification, planting new varieties, and improving soil health will be necessary to increase farm resilience in the future, growers were unable to justify making these changes due to their uncertainty about future climate changes. The findings from this study highlight the need for future outreach efforts by university extension agents, private agricultural advisors, and federal and state agency advisors to provide educational information on the long-term impacts of climate change in order to help growers increase the resilience of their farm in the face of future climate impacts.

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Jingyi Li, Fei Li, Shengping He, Huijun Wang, and Yvan J Orsolini

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP), referred to as the “Asian water tower,” contains one of the largest land ice masses on Earth. The local glacier shrinkage and frozen-water storage are strongly affected by variations in surface air temperature over the TP (TPSAT), especially in springtime. This study reveals that the relationship between the February North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and March TPSAT is unstable with time and regulated by the phase of the Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV). The significant out-of-phase connection occurs only during the warm phase of AMV (AMV+). The results show that during the AMV+, the negative phase of the NAO persists from February to March, and is accompanied by a quasi-stationary Rossby wave train trapped along a northward-shifted subtropical westerly jet stream across Eurasia, inducing an anomalous adiabatic descent that warms the TP. However, during the cold phase of the AMV, the negative NAO cannot persist into March. The Rossby wave train propagates along the well-separated polar and subtropical westerly jets, and the NAO–TPSAT connection is broken. Further investigation suggests that the enhanced synoptic eddy and low-frequency flow (SELF) interaction over the North Atlantic in February and March during the AMV+, caused by the southward-shifted storm track, helps maintain the NAO pattern via positive eddy feedback. This study provides a new detailed perspective on the decadal variability of the North Atlantic–TP connection in late winter to early spring.

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Hamish D. Prince, Nicolas J. Cullen, Peter B. Gibson, Jono Conway, and Daniel G. Kingston

Abstract

The occurrence of extreme precipitation events in New Zealand regularly results in devastating impacts to the local society and environment. An automated atmospheric river (AR) detection technique (ARDT) is applied to construct a climatology (1979–2019) of extreme midlatitude moisture fluxes conducive to extreme precipitation. A distinct seasonality exists in AR occurrence aligning with seasonal variations in the midlatitude jet streams. The formation of the Southern Hemisphere winter split jet enables AR occurrence to persist through all seasons in northern regions of New Zealand, while southern regions of the country exhibit a substantial (50%) reduction in AR occurrence as the polar jet shifts southward during the cold season. ARs making landfall on the western coast of New Zealand (90% of all events) are characterized by a dominant northwesterly moisture flux associated with a distinct dipole pressure anomaly, with low pressure to the southwest and high pressure to the northeast of New Zealand. Precipitation totals during AR events increase with AR rank (five-point scale) throughout the country, with the most substantial increase on the windward side of the Southern Alps (South Island). The largest events (rank 5 ARs) produce 3-day precipitation totals exceeding 1000 mm. ARs account for up to 78% of total precipitation and up to 94% of extreme precipitation on the west coast of the South Island. Assessment of the multiscale atmospheric processes associated with AR events governing extreme precipitation in the Southern Alps of New Zealand should remain a priority given their hydrological significance and impact on people and infrastructure.

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Weixin Xu, Steven A. Rutledge, and Kyle Chudler

Abstract

Using 17-yr spaceborne precipitation radar measurements, this study investigates how diurnal cycles of rainfall and convective characteristics over the South China Sea region are modulated by the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO). Generally, diurnal cycles change significantly between suppressed and active BSISO periods. Over the Philippines and Indochina, where the low-level monsoon flows impinge on coast lines, diurnal cycles of rainfall and many convective properties are enhanced during suppressed periods. During active periods, diurnal variation of convection is still significant over land but diminishes over water. Also, afternoon peaks of rainfall and MCS populations over land are obviously extended in active periods, mainly through the enhancement of stratiform precipitation. Over Borneo, where the prevailing low-level winds are parallel to coasts, diurnal cycles (both onshore and offshore) are actually stronger during active periods. Radar profiles also demonstrate a pronounced nocturnal offshore propagation of deep convection over western Borneo in active periods. During suppressed periods, coastal afternoon convection over Borneo is reduced, and peak convection occurs over the mountains until the convective suppression is overcome in the late afternoon or evening. A major portion (>70%) of the total precipitation over the Philippines and Indochina during suppressed periods falls from afternoon isolated to medium-sized systems (<10 000 km2), but more than 70% of the active BSISO rainfall is contributed by nocturnal (after 1800 LT) broad precipitation systems (>10 000 km2). However, offshore total precipitation is dominated by large precipitation systems (>10 000 km2) regardless of BSISO phases and regions.

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Matthew D. Flournoy, Michael C. Coniglio, and Erik N. Rasmussen

Abstract

Although environmental controls on bulk supercell potential and hazards have been studied extensively, relationships between environmental conditions and temporal changes to storm morphology remain less explored. These relationships are examined in this study using a compilation of sounding data collected during field campaigns from 1994 to 2019 in the vicinity of 216 supercells. Environmental parameters are calculated from the soundings and related to storm-track characteristics like initial cell motion and the time of the right turn (i.e., the time elapsed between the cell initiation and the first time when the supercell obtains a quasi-steady motion that is directed clockwise from its initial motion.). We do not find any significant associations between environmental parameters and the time of the right turn. Somewhat surprisingly, no relationship is found between storm-relative environmental helicity and the time elapsed between cell initiation and the onset of deviant motion. Initial cell motion is best approximated by the direction of the 0–6-km mean wind at two-thirds the speed. This is a result of advection and propagation in the 0–4- and 0–2-km layers, respectively. Unsurprisingly, Bunkers-right storm motion is a good estimate of post-turn motion, but storms that exhibit a post-turn motion left of Bunkers-right are less likely to be tornadic. These findings are relevant for real-time forecasting efforts in predicting the path and tornado potential of supercells up to hours in advance.

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Seth P. Howard, Kim E. Klockow-McClain, Alison P. Boehmer, and Kevin M. Simmons

Abstract

Tornadoes cause billions of dollars in damage and over 100 fatalities on average annually. Yet, an indirect cost to these storms is found in lost sales and/or lost productivity from responding to over 2000 warnings per year. This project responds to the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, H.R. 353, which calls for the use of social and behavioral science to study and improve storm warning systems. Our goal is to provide an analysis of cost avoidance that could accrue from a change to the warning paradigm, particularly to include probabilistic hazard information at storm scales. A survey of nearly 500 firms was conducted in and near the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area asking questions about experience with tornadoes, sources of information for severe weather, expected cost of responding to tornado warnings, and how the firm would respond to either deterministic or probabilistic warnings. We find a dramatic change from deterministic warnings compared to the proposed probabilistic and that a probabilistic information system produces annual cost avoidance in a range of $2.3–$7.6 billion (U.S. dollars) compared to the current deterministic warning paradigm.

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Samuel Smith, Paul W. Staten, and Jian Lu

Abstract

Models disagree on how much the hydrologic cycle could intensify under climate change. These changes are expected to scale with the Clausius–Clapeyron relation but may locally diverge due in part to the uncertain response of the general circulation, causing the hydrologic cycle to inherit this uncertainty. To identify how the circulation contributes, we link circulation changes to changes in the higher moments of the hydrologic cycle using the novel dynamical framework of the local hydrologic cycle, the portion of the hydrologic cycle driven by moist or dry intrusions. We expand this dynamical framework, developing a closed budget that diagnoses thermodynamic, advective, and overturning contributions to future hydrologic cycle changes. In analyzing these changes for the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble, we show that overturning is the main dynamic contributor to the tropical and subtropical annual response, consistent with a weakening of this circulation. In the extratropics, we show that advective contributions, likely from storm track changes, dominate the response. We achieve a cleaner separation between dynamic and thermodynamic contributions through a semiempirical scaling, which reveals the robustness of the Clausius–Clapeyron scaling for the local hydrologic cycle. This scaling also demonstrates the slowing of the local hydrologic cycle and how changing subtropical dynamics asymmetrically impact wave breaking and suppress meridional moisture transport. We conclude that dynamic changes in the subtropics are predominantly responsible for the annual, dynamic response in the extratropics and thus a significant contributor to uncertainty in future projections.

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