Developing Effective Communications about Extreme Weather Risks.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, United States; University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2, United Kingdom
Members of the general public often face complex decisions about the risks that they face, including those associated with extreme weather and climate change adaptation. Scientific experts may be asked to develop communications with the goal of improving people’s understanding of weather and climate risks, and informing people's decisions about how to protect against these risks. Unfortunately, scientific experts' communication efforts may fail if they lack information about what people need or want to know to make more informed decisions or what wording people prefer use to describe relevant concepts. This presentation provides general principles for developing effective risk communication materials that aim for widespread dissemination, such as brochures and websites. After a brief review of the social science evidence on how to design effective risk communication materials, examples will focus on communications about extreme weather events and climate change. Specifically, data will be presented from ongoing projects on flood risk perception, public preparedness for heat waves, and public perceptions of climate change. The presentation will end with specific recommendations about how to improve recipients’ understanding about risks and inform decisions. These recommendations should be useful to scientific experts who aim to communicate about extreme weather, climate change, or other risks.