1.1 10 Years After Katrina: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges for the Weather Enterprise

Monday, 11 January 2016: 11:15 AM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Thomas A. Birkland, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

In the ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the disaster research, emergency management, and meteorological communities have responded to this catastrophe, have claimed to learn its lessons, and have adapted a range of changes and innovations that have significant potential to save lives and property. And, indeed, the weather community did a remarkable service in providing useful hazard information to the area struck by this storm. This presentation reviews these changes and innovations by asking the question "what is the role of social science in disaster communication and the weather enterprise?" I demonstrate that innovations such as Weather Ready Nation have been grounded in sound social science. Indeed, the adoption of social science findings by the broader emergency management community, including both practitioners and scholars, has been instrumental to policy improvement over the past several decades. Still, there is more to be done, and this paper concludes with thoughts about the perceived value of social science research in disaster preparedness and warning. The meteorological community, considered broadly, has a crucial role to play in translating social science findings to actual practice.
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