4.4 Making Weather, Water, and Climate Messages More Memorable, Sharable, and Actionable: Lessons from the Science of Science Communication

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Ballroom B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Jessica Hubbard, George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA; and E. Maibach

Over the past century, meteorology and related sciences have developed at an extraordinary pace. Much of what has been learned from this scientific enterprise has direct and practical relevance to improve the wellbeing and security of individuals, families, businesses, communities and nations. Indeed, society has benefitted enormously from these scientific advances.

Over the past decade, a parallel science has emerged that has direct and practical relevance to improving individual and societal understanding of—and decision-making about—matters related to weather, water and climate change: the science of science communication. Through its Sackler Colloquium Series, and through special issues of PNAS, the National Academies of Science has played an important role in fostering the development of this new science.

To make important insights from scientific evidence most useful to individuals and society, it helps to design that information—or brief statements about the information sometimes referred to as “messages” —to be as memorable, sharable and actionable as possible. Memorable information is more likely to be recalled and considered at times when it has potential value to citizens and policymakers. Sharable information is more likely to spread from person-to-person through social networks and become widely known throughout society. Actionable information is more likely to lead to decisions and subsequent actions that improve outcomes and enhance human wellbeing.

In this presentation, we will summarize some key findings from the science of science communication about how to make important science-based information more memorable, sharable and actionable.

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