1.3 Severe Storms Knowledge, Practice, and Societal Response: Future Directions for Social Science Research

Monday, 7 November 2016: 9:30 AM
Pavilion Ballroom (Hilton Portland )
Julie L. Demuth, NCAR, Boulder, CO

Despite tremendous advances in meteorological observations, knowledge, and forecasts, people still experience significant harm to life, property, and well-being from severe weather. This is due both to the challenges that meteorological researchers and forecasters face in understanding, assessing, and communicating severe weather risks as well as to difficulties that members of the public face in obtaining, interpreting, and responding to the risk information. To further reduce societal harm, we must develop knowledge about severe weather risk information that members of the public use—including “official” forecast and warning information, social and environmental cues, and other risk information—and about their risk perceptions and their communication and protective response behaviors. Moreover, we must understand these components and processes for different populations, for different severe weather threats, and over time given changes in meteorological forecast skill and new communication technologies. Because the public’s use of severe weather risk information is inherently tied to the forecasts and warnings they receive, it is also essential to develop knowledge about the originators of severe weather information, including about new knowledge and model information being developed by researchers and how this connects with forecasters’ practices and critical information gaps. This talk will briefly cover the state of social and behavioral science research for the severe weather context, and it will discuss key fundamental and applied research needs. It also will discuss the need for integrated, collaborative research efforts among meteorological researchers, operational forecasters, and social and behavioral scientists.
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