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.

Weather, Climate, and the Economy: Explaining Risk Perceptions of Global Warming, 2001–10

Authors: Wanyun Shao et al.


Discipline: Geography

Hazard of Interest: Risk perceptions of Global Warming

Methods: Ordered-logit regression with clustered standard errors, GIS

Key Research Issues: Weather, climate, or economy – what explains the variations in risk perceptions of global warming in the first decade of 21st century?

Key Findings:

1. Summer temperature trends over the past 10 years, among other weather and climate  measures, are shown to have consistently positive effects on public perceptions of global warming.
2. Macroeconomic conditions—represented by the unemployment rate at the county level—do not appear to influence public perceptions of global warming.
3. Democrats and liberals are more likely than Republicans and conservatives to see global warming as an immediate and serious problem.
4. Young people, women, racial minorities, and individuals with lower income and higher levels  of education tend to be more concerned about the impacts and severity of global warming than their counterparts.