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RISA Climate Assessment Specialist Releases Three New Studies on the Challenges of Communicating Weather and Climate Information


William Howe, Climate Assessment Specialist for the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP), a CPO Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) team, has released three new studies on the challenges of communicating weather and climate information. In “Sharing Expert Decisions: Examining Television Meteorologists’ Tweets of a Severe Weather Forecasting Team’s Warnings,” William and co-author Miranda McLouglin, from Texas Christian University, compared tweets of severe weather events between the National Weather Service and local television stations. They analyzed each severe-weather tweet finding significant differences on measures of clout, analytical thinking, and positive emotions. They also documented differences between individual television stations.

In “A Social Network Analysis of Climate-Related Information Exchange in the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) Areas of Operation,” William examined the relationships between SCIPP’s primary stakeholders and sources of climate information. He assessed familiarity with specific sources, such as the National Climate Assessment, U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, and NCEI/AMS State of the Climate Report, along with familiarity of climate information providers, such as SCIPP, the USGS South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, NOAA Southern Regional Climate Center, and local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Offices. The analysis identified 81 unique organizations, 130 unique connections, and eight distinct groups. 

In his third study, “Climate Change or Extreme Weather Events: Evaluations of Information from Texas Residents According to Message Framing and Source Credibility,” William conducted an experiment in which messages were framed differently to see how residents of Texas responded. He found that messages framed as extreme weather events instead of climate change as well as messages from Federal Government sources rather than non-profits were perceived as more credible. The study also found that those with conservative political ideology rated all messages lower on credibility and newsworthiness, and that older participants did not find messages to be as newsworthy as younger participants.


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