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Robert Drost, Jay Trobec, Christy Steffke, and Julie Libarkin

Abstract

Televised media is one of the most frequently accessed sources of weather information. The local weathercaster is the link between weather information and the public, and as such weathercaster characteristics, from vocal cadence to physical appearance, can impact viewer understanding. This study considers the role of weathercaster gesturing on viewer attention during weather forecasts. Two variations of a typical weather forecast were viewed by a total of 36 students during an eye tracking session. The first forecast variation contained physical gestures toward forecast text by the newscaster (Gesture condition) while the second variation contained minimal gesturing (No Gesture condition). Following each eye tracking session, students completed a retention survey related to the forecast. These data were used to identify areas of interest to which students attended during viewing and to ascertain how well the forecast was retained across the gesturing treatments. Study results suggest that the weathercaster’s gesturing during forecasts may have induced confusion among participants, but did not affect retention of the weather information investigated in the study. Gesturing diverted attention from other areas of interest within the forecast by encouraging participants to focus on the weathercaster’s hands. This study indicates that minor modifications to weathercaster behavior can produce significant changes in viewer behavior.

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Robert Drost, Mark Casteel, Julie Libarkin, Stephen Thomas, and Matt Meister

Abstract

Weather hazards in the United States inflict both personal and economic tolls on the public. Communicating warnings about weather hazards is an important duty of TV weathercasters. Televised weather warnings are typically conveyed through live radar, live coverage, and warning scrolls. However, these traditional approaches may not be entirely effective given the limited attention some members of the public pay to these warnings. A study comparing individual responses to a traditional warning, an animated warning, and an audio warning was undertaken to evaluate the impact of delivery methods on viewer attention, retention, and preferences during viewing of severe weather warnings. A Tobii T60 eye tracker was used to document visual interactions with on-screen warnings and surveys were used to collect evidence of warning retention and preference. Demographic variables were also collected to describe the study population. Results indicate that viewers of the animated warning retained more pertinent information about the tornado warning than viewers of the traditional warning, and retention during the traditional warning was equivalent to that of the audio warning. In addition, gaze patterns for the traditional warning were much more diffuse than for the animated warning, suggesting that attention was more focused on the animation than the live video. In addition, modifications to reduce visual complexity of traditional warnings may positively impact viewer attention to individual warning elements. Future studies will consider the effectiveness of a hybrid warning containing both traditional and animated components. The current research study can be used to advance current severe weather warning communication techniques and increase public awareness during severe weather events.

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Scott E. Kalafatis, Jasmine Neosh, Julie C. Libarkin, Kyle Powys Whyte, and Chris Caldwell

Abstract

Climate scientists are increasingly called upon to collaborate with policy makers to develop climate science–informed policy decisions. However, there are concerns that existing professional and cultural boundaries will remain persistent barriers to fulfilling the potential promise of these collaborations. The perception that scientists will be learning by doing while pursuing these efforts does little to assuage these concerns because more research is needed into how scientists actually learn to collaborate more effectively. Using interviews with 18 individuals identified by their peers as particularly successful participants in collaborations between Native American Tribes and climate science organizations, this paper offers suggested practices and examines learning processes underlying the development of these suggestions. The development of the list of suggested practices highlights the extent to which having the right attitude, taking the right actions, and cultivating the right processes are intertwined factors associated with success in these collaborations. Analysis of the learning processes underlying interviewees’ suggestions for suggested practices offered five sources of information that frequently led interviewees to reflect on their experiences and gain new knowledge from them. Despite these common trends, each interviewee described a reflection system that they had cultivated to continually monitor and enhance their work in collaborations that was personalized and distinctive from those the other interviewees used. Increased attention to these tailored reflection systems offers a path forward for understanding how experiential learning can most effectively enhance climate change decision support.

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Scott E. Kalafatis, Julie C. Libarkin, Kyle Powys Whyte, and Chris Caldwell

Abstract

Engagements between climate scientists and communities feature challenges but are also essential for successfully preparing for climate change. This is particularly true for indigenous peoples who are proactively responding to the threats that climate change poses by engaging in collaborations with climate decision-support organizations. The potential for risks and rewards associated with engagements like these makes developing tools for comprehensively, consistently, and equitably assessing cross-cultural climate collaborations a critical challenge. This paper describes a multicultural team’s efforts to develop a survey that can assess collaborations between Native American tribes in the United States and climate science organizations. In the process, the developing survey’s oscillations between acting as a boundary object and acting as an epistemic object in the project revealed common ground as well as existing differences across the cultural, disciplinary, and professional divides involved. Delphi expert elicitation was shown to be an effective approach for negotiating a cross-cultural research effort like this one because of its ability to establish consensus while delineating gaps. This experience highlights that assessing cross-cultural climate collaborations requires that both researchers and the tools that they use have the capacity to identify both common ground and distinctions between climate scientists and the communities with which they collaborate.

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