Sponsored by the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
and NCAR Societal Impacts Program
A series of seminars facilitated by the NCAR Societal Impacts Program (SIP) examining the social impacts of weather. Weather and Society Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) is an effort to comprehensively integrate social science into meteorological research and practice in a sustained manner.
Unless otherwise noted seminars are held at the NOAA David Skaggs Research Center (DSRC), 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado, Room GC-402. Visitors attending the talks should review the Visitor Information for directions and security information, and mention the WAS*IS Seminar when checking in through DSRC security. Please contact Annie Reiser 303-497-6634,Ann.M.Reiser@noaa.gov if you have any questions.
Upcoming WAS*IS Seminars
May 4, 2009
Eve Gruntfest - Integrating Social Science into Meteorology: Progress in Moving from WAS to IS with Evidence from Remarkable WAS*IS Voyages into a New World
In just a few years the WAS*IS movement has informed and transformed ways that agencies, university departments, and other organizations work. This presentation will summarize some of these remarkable changes through the career trajectories and activities of some of the 171 official WAS*ISers. Recommendations for monitoring these changes as metrics to show what would not have happened without WAS*IS and suggestions for ways to accelerate the integration of social science will be offered for discussion.
Past WAS*IS Seminars
April 21, 2008
Rebecca Morss - Communicating Forecast Uncertainty
Using empirical data from a nationwide survey of the public, we explore the public's perspectives on everyday weather forecast uncertainty and uncertainty information using results from a nationwide survey including peoples: inference of uncertainty into deterministic forecasts; preferences for deterministic versus non-deterministic forecasts; confidence in different types of forecasts; interpretations of probability of precipitation forecasts; and preferences for how forecast uncertainty is conveyed.
May 19, 2008Hal Cochrane - The Economic Impact of Disaster
A sudden shock to a region's economy can produce losses several times larger than the combined amount of damage to housing, business capital and public infrastructure. The current subprime loan debacle serves to indicate just how large indirect economic losses can be. The seminar focuses on a new way of predicting such a loss. It begins with a brief review of the literature. It goes on to formulate the fundamentals of regional economic damage and proposes a new technique for assessing the dislocations caused by hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. A rapid loss assessment tool will be explained and its application to a variety of weather and climate events discussed. Lastly, Hurricane Katrina will be used to demonstrate the tool's use.
June 16, 2008Isabelle Ruin - Motorists' Vulnerability to Flash Floods in France
To better understand motorists vulnerability to Flash floods a comprehensive integration of social and natural sciences is needed. Using qualitative and quantitative methods I will show how "at risk" travel patterns result in a mix of three factors: spatio-temporal exposure, cognitive understanding of risks on the road, but also daily family and professional constraints.
July 28, 2008Sheldon Drobot - Diagnosing the Recent Decline in Arctic Sea Ice and Prospects for 2008
We begin by giving an overview of the modern sea ice record (1953-2008) and then discuss why we think it is declining. We then highlight comments on why the loss of sea ice matters to humans and the environment, and finish with a forecast for 2008.
October 20, 2008Julie Demuth - A Geo-Spatial Analysis of People's Attitudes and Behaviors for Weather Forecast Information
We conducted a nationwide, controlled-access Internet survey of the general public with 1465 completed responses. The survey included questions to assess people's sources, perceptions, uses, and values for weather forecast information and their perceptions and interpretations for forecast uncertainty information. We matched respondents with climatological data and forecast verification measures based on their reported locations to assess how their experiences with weather compare with their attitudes and behaviors regarding weather forecast information. This presentation will discuss the findings from these survey questions with an emphasis on geographic variations across the U.S.
November 10, 2008Mary H. Hayden - Weather, Climate and Dengue Fever
Weather fluctuations and climate variability influence infectious disease transmission, particularly the field survivability of Aedes aegypti, the vector for dengue fever and yellow fever. We will report an outbreak of classic dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever in south Texas in 2005 and discuss innovative strategies to reduce transmission that are currently being tested.
January 26, 2009Olga Wilhelmi - GIS, Weather, and Societal Impacts
GIS methods and analysis tools have been widely used in many societal sectors and academic disciplines for data integration, analysis and decision-making over the past two decades. In recent years, collaborations among GIS developers, research and operational users have contributed to integrated data modeling and evolving GIS functionality for use in meteorology and climatology. Emerging operational and research applications range from severe weather warnings to assessments of societal impacts and vulnerabilities to hazardous weather events. In this talk I will describe advances in integration of GIS with atmospheric data and models across scales, discuss GIS applications in weather and societal impacts research, and present key findings from 2008 NCAR workshop on GIS in weather, climate and impacts.
February 23, 2009
Jeff Lazo, Rebecca Morss, and Julie Demuth - Socio-Economic Research on Hurricane Forecasts and Warnings: A Discussion of Results and Research Plans
We will discuss our research program on socio-economic aspects of the hurricane forecast and warning system. We will start with a brief review of the Hurricane Forecast Socio-Economic Working Group effort that defined a social science research agenda on hurricane forecasts. We will then present methods and results from a small sample survey of Miami households on their uses, perceptions, and values for current and improved forecasts. This will include a discussion of non-market approaches for deriving values for hurricane forecasts. Our discussion willthen focus on three funded projects examining different yet related aspects of the hurricane forecast and warning process integrating a variety of social sciences. These projects are:
- Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) Socio-Economic Impacts Assessment—This NOAA funded 1-year project focuses on (1) assessment of emergency managers’needs, uses, and decision-making primarily with respect to hurricane intensity forecast information and (2) households’values for improved intensity forecasts related toNOAA’sHurricane Forecast Improvement Project.
- Warning Decisions in Extreme Weather Events -An Integrated Multi-Method Approach—This NSF funded 3-year project implements a multidisciplinary, multimethodapproach —using two case studies of flash floods in Boulder, CO, and hurricanes in Miami, FL —to better understand weather warning systems by (1) studying the warning process, with an emphasis on how information is created, interpreted and used by forecasters, public officials, media organizations, and the public; (2) identifying commonalities and variations in information preferences and use of forecast and warning information across different users; (3) exploring the decision processes andmental models that underlie behavior with respect to warnings for extreme weather events.
- Communicating Hurricane Information—This NSF and NOAA funded 2-year project advances the communication of hurricane forecast advisories and warnings by examining 1) the process through which advisories and warnings are developed, and the resulting content; 2) the communication channels used by various actors in this process; and 3) how at-risk coastal residents, including more vulnerable populations, comprehend and react to specific components of advisories and warnings.
March 16, 2009
Andrea Ray - Climate Change in Colorado: Developing a Science Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management Adaptation
The State of Colorado’s Climate Action Plan sets out a goal to prepare the state to adapt to those climate changes “that cannot be avoided,” and recommends assessing the vulnerability of Colorado's water resources to climate change, analyzing impacts on interstate water compacts, and planning for extreme events such as drought and flooding (CCAP 2007). A team from the NOAA –CU Western Water Assessment, a Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) program, recently completed a report synthesizing the science on climate change. “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” aimed at planners, decisionmakers, and policymakers to support the state’s water adaptation efforts.
This presentation focuses on the process of developing the report, our key communication goals, and the choices and challenges we faced in developing this synthesis for decisionmakers, and engaging professional stakeholders in framing and developing the report based on their decision processes and needs. One goal of the report was to raise climate literacy of our audience about climate and how climate science is done. For example, a primer on climate models and theory situates Colorado in the context of global climate change and describes how features such as complex topography relate to interpreting and using climate change projections.
Water managers have a history of adapting to changes in economies and land use, environmental concerns, and population growth. However, current practices may not be robust enough to cope with climate change. This report is a step in establishing Colorado's water-related adaptation needs; it responds to the needs of Colorado state agencies and water management community to evaluate impacts on Colorado's water resources and better understand risks. This effort is also an experiment in climate services for climate change information and exploring the challenges of communicating the information to a diverse audience of decisionmakers.