Understanding the Climate-Sensitive Decisions and Information Needs of Freshwater Resource Managers in Hawaii

Authors: Melissa L. Finucane et al.


Discipline: Psychology

Hazard of Interest: Climate Change

Methods: Quantitative (surveys) and Qualitative (interviews and focus groups)

Key Research Issues: Improving our understanding about the context of decision processes about how to manage fresh water resources on Pacific Islands under the changing climate.

Key Research Findings: People managing freshwater resources in Hawaii are highly educated and experienced in diverse professions, they perceive climate change as posing a worrisome risk, and they would like to be better informed about how to adapt to climate change. decisions can be characterized on several key dimensions including purpose (optimization and evaluation), time horizon (short term and long term), level of information uncertainty (known, uncertain, deeply uncertain, and completely unknown), and information type (quantitative and qualitative). The climate information most relevant to decision makers includes vulnerability assessments incorporating long-term projections about temperature, rainfall distribution, storms, sea level rise, and streamflow changes at an island or statewide scale. The main barriers to using available climate information include insufficient staff time to locate the information and the lack of a clear legal mandate to use the information.


Climate Influences on Meningitis Incidence in Northwest Nigeria

Authors: Auwal F. Abdussalam et al.


Discipline: Meteorology/Epidemiology

Hazard of Interest: Meningitis, Climate Change

Methods: Quantitative, Generalized Additive Model

Key Research Issues:  Meningitis remains a major health burden throughout Sahelian Africa, especially in heavily-populated northwest Nigeria with a higher incidence rate recorded annually. Several studies have established that cases exhibit sensitivity to intra- and inter-annual climate variability, peaking during the hot and dry boreal spring months. This encourages the need of using both climatic and socioeconomic information for the possible prediction of the disease with a time lead that will enable authorities to prepare well.

Key Research Findings: Temperature, relative humidity and dustiness appeared to be the most important climatic variables in explaining and predicting disease cases. Accounting for social factors (though albeit not specifically) explains more of the monthly variability of meningitis compared to those models that do not account for the unobserved factors. The skill of a model version with all explanatory variables lagged by 1-month suggest the potential to predict meningitis cases in northwest Nigeria up to a month in advance to aid decision makers.

The Influence of Previous Disaster Experience and Sociodemographics on Protective Behaviors during Two Successive Tornado Events

Authors: Amber Silver and Jean Andrey


Discipline: Geography

Hazard of Interest: Tornado

Methods: Semi-structured interviews and close-ended questionnaires

Key Research Issues:

• This research examines two successive, potentially tornadic events that occurred in Goderich, Ontario, Canada on 21 August 2011 and 24 August 2011.
• The purpose of this socio-behavioral study was to investigate the influence of previous disaster experience on risk perception and response to a low-probability, high-impact disaster.

Key Research Findings:

• Physical cues were the primary motivators of protective action on 21 August 2011, while the Environment Canada tornado warning was the primary motivator on 24 August 2011.
• Respondents were more likely to take protective action during the subsequent storm on 24 August 2011, regardless of whether they were physically present for the tornado on 21 August 2011. This highlights the important influence of indirect disaster experience on hazard perception and response.
• Socio-demographics were not found to influence protective decisions made on 21 August 2011, while gender (female) was related to decision-making on 24 August 2011.
• The intense media coverage of the impacts of the 21 August 2011 tornado may have contributed to a social amplification of risk on 24 August 2011.