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Dismantling the divide: Further integrating social science into weather, climate, and water enterprises

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Dismantling the divide: Further integrating social science into weather, climate, and water enterprises
Washington State Convention Center
Heather Lazrus, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and J. Demuth, J. Lazo, E. Gruntfest, and M. Tuttle-Carr

Social scientists are increasingly joining efforts with others involved in the weather and climate enterprises toward the goal of promoting a safer and more informed society (NAS references). Weather, climate, and water provide a fundamental backdrop to social life and are intimately tied to our wellbeing. When adverse environmental conditions threaten, weather may move to the foreground of decision-making, but must be considered in the context of cultural, economic, and political frameworks. As social scientists we seek to understand and interpret these contexts and frameworks to better facilitate communication and enhance decision-making. We ask questions about the values of weather forecasts, the mechanisms of communication, the motivations for behavior, and the conditions of vulnerability.

As social scientists, we are often asked what we do. This poster is a friendly presentation of social science as a “different way of knowing” about weather and society interactions. We illustrate the differences and similarities between various social science disciplines, how we engage different bodies of theory, employ different methodologies, and adhere to different epistemologies. We also discuss differences and overlaps between social science research and societal impact concerns. Finally, we offer some examples of social science efforts and collaborations with colleagues in the weather and climate enterprise.

The poster represents work by social scientists in the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Social Science Woven into Meteorology (SSWIM) program at the University of Oklahoma.