more on …the AMS journal Weather, Climate, and Society


ten years of environmental intelligence inside

Yesterday’s LOTRW post spoke to ten years of steady growth at the AMS journal Weather, Climate, and Society. But what matters most is not the age or the size… it’s the quality and breadth of the content. A sampling from Volume 10, Number 1 (all this and more is available online[1]):

Expressing Flood Likelihood: Return Period versus Probability

Margaret A. Grounds, Jared E. LeClerc, and Susan Joslyn

The likelihood of floods and other potentially destructive natural phenomena is often expressed as a return period or recurrence interval, such as a 100-yr flood. However, the expression might give users the impression that the event will occur exactly once within the described period, obscuring the intended probabilistic meaning. If so, users may think a flood is less likely when one has just occurred or more likely when it has not, leading to a “flood is due” effect. This hypothesis was tested experimentally in two studies reported here

Long a bugaboo of the risk communication and the weather, water, and climate communities. Some quantitative data behind the concern….

The Opportunities and Needs of Water Utility Professionals as Community Climate–Water Leaders

Karen Raucher, Robert Raucher, Kenan Ozekin, and Kristin Wegner

Community water is a key place Americans will personally experience climate change. A 2013 nationally representative survey found that 92% of Americans want their community water provider to be a leader in preparing their community for climate change, and that community water providers are highly trusted sources for climate information. These findings place water utility professionals on the front line of climate response…

The paper presents updates from a 2016 survey….

Thirty Years of Multilevel Processes for Adaptation of Livestock Production to Droughts in Uruguay

I. Cruz, W. Baethgen, D. Bartaburu, M. Bidegain, A. Giménez, M. Methol, H. Morales, V. Picasso, G. Podestá, R. Taddei, R. Terra, G. Tiscornia, and M. Vinocur

Most countries lack effective policies to manage climate risks, despite growing concerns with climate change. The authors analyzed the policy evolution from a disaster management to a risk management approach, using as a case study four agricultural droughts that impacted Uruguay’s livestock sector in the last three decades. A transdisciplinary team of researchers, extension workers, and policy makers agreed on a common conceptual framework for the interpretation of past droughts and policies. The evidence presented shows that the set of actions implemented at different levels when facing droughts were mainly reactive in the past but later evolved to a more integral risk management approach…

Growing at the Margins: Adaptation to Severe Weather in the Marginal Lands of the British Isles

Dorian Speakman

With the problem of severe weather events having significant impacts on harvests in Britain, this study has looked at how small-scale food producers use agroecology to adapt to adverse weather conditions; 23 sites growing food using agroecology across the British Isles in areas severely disadvantaged to agriculture were investigated. Because the climate in these areas is generally hostile to horticulture (often in combination with other factors such as land quality), all the participants have to adapt to the prevailing weather conditions and frequent severe weather events…

The Relationships among Actual Weather Events, Perceived Unusual Weather, Media Use, and Global Warming Belief Certainty in China

Xiao Wang and Lin Lin

Previous research revealed that if individuals personally experience an unusual weather event as a result of global warming (vs no personal experience), they may hold higher belief certainty that global warming is happening and hence develop more favorable attitudes toward mitigation actions. However, much of the previous research focused on self-reported personal experience and global warming beliefs using cross-sectional surveys; reverse causality is thus possible

Social Resilience to Climate-Related Disasters in Ancient Societies: A Test of Two Hypotheses

Peter N. Peregrine

Current literature on disaster response argues that societies providing greater local participation in decision-making and that have more community coordination and governance organizations are more resilient to climate-related disasters. In contrast, recent research in psychology has argued that societies with tighter social norms and greater enforcement of those norms are more resilient. This paper tests whether one or both of these seemingly competing perspectives can be empirically supported through an examination of the diachronic impact of climate-related disasters on ancient societies. A cross-cultural research design and a sample of 33 archaeologically known societies bracketing 22 catastrophic climate-related disasters are used to test two hypotheses about resilience to climate-related disasters. The paper finds that societies allowing greater political participation appear to provide greater resilience to catastrophic climate-related disasters, generally supporting the predominant perspective in contemporary disaster response. Printed the entire abstract here. Who knew such a study was even possible? Stunning.

The Value of Remotely Sensed Information: The Case of a GRACE-Enhanced Drought Severity Index

Richard Bernknopf, David Brookshire, Yusuke Kuwayama, Molly Macauley, Matthew Rodell, Alexandra Thompson, Peter Vail, and Benjamin Zaitchik

A decision framework is developed for quantifying the economic value of information (VOI) from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission for drought monitoring, with a focus on the potential contributions of groundwater storage and soil moisture measurements from the GRACE data assimilation (GRACE-DA) system. The study consists of (i) the development of a conceptual framework to evaluate the socioeconomic value of GRACE-DA as a contributing source of information to drought monitoring; (ii) structured listening sessions to understand the needs of stakeholders who are affected by drought monitoring; (iii) econometric analysis based on the conceptual framework that characterizes the contribution of GRACE-DA to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) in capturing the effects of drought on the agricultural sector; and (iv) a demonstration of how the improved characterization of drought conditions may influence decisions made in a real-world drought disaster assistance program. Results show that GRACE-DA has the potential to lower the uncertainty associated with the understanding of drought and that this improved understanding has the potential to change policy decisions that lead to tangible societal benefits. Reprinted the entire abstract here as well. Reminder that economics is a social science, and an encouraging sign that science and technology can positively influence policymaking, despite the current media headlines to the contrary.


To repeat: the full texts of these papers are available at the link. What’s more, the papers omitted in this sample are every bit the equal in interest, importance and diversity of those highlighted here.

Breathtaking stuff.

Breathtaking – not just because there’s multi-disciplinary research virtuosity on display, though there’s plenty of that.

Breathtaking – because each of the bits of work being reported is adding more to our understanding, and construction of, the integrated framework connecting weather and climate to seven billion people – our hopes, aspirations, and realistic prospects. Our connections to weather and climate are intricately interwoven, strong in some ways and fragile in others, and constantly evolving in response to changes in society, technology, and the surface of our planet itself. It’s our greatest 21st-century adventure, and it’s being documented on these WCAS pages.


[1] Have a sneaking suspicion my laptop has been trying to tell me this link is available only if you have a subscription. If that’s the case, my apologies, but perhaps this’ll motivate you to take the plunge.

Also, an apology; in my enthusiasm I jumped the gun a bit. WCAS is at volume 10… but not quite ten. Yet. My bad.

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