Thursday, 16 May 2002: 8:30 AM
Testing Farmers' Perceptions of Climate Variability: A Case Study from the Sulphur Springs Valley, Arizona
This paper takes a step toward reconciling ethnography and scientific discourse and vice versa. Numerous social scientists are now engaged in understanding the human dimensions of environmental change. Anthropologists in particular have made important contributions to studies of social vulnerability to climate change and variability. The specific goal of this paper is to test perceptions of climate variability with meteorological data. The hope is that these tests provide templates for others to use in order to track long term relationships between oscillations in rainfall and the ways in which humans view these changes.
Specifically, this paper tests the perceptions of farmers and ranchers in the Sulphur Springs Valley, Arizona who were participants of a larger climate vulnerability study. The tests demonstrate that some perceptions of seasonal variability can be validated with rainfall data on decadal time-scales. We further suggest that this seasonal variability is related to larger dynamic interactions of ENSO and PDO.