Collaborative Research: Understanding Dynamic Responses to Hurricane Warnings - Implications for Communication and Research
- Lead PI: Ben Orlove Kenneth Broad, Shuyi Chen, Robert Meyer
Unit Affiliation: Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)
- January 2009 - December 2012
- North America ; United States
- Project Type: Research
Recent increases in losses of lives and property from hurricanes in the United States have underscored the need to develop more effective ways to warn residents of approaching storms. Though physical scientists have made great advances in forecasting the movement and strength of storms, we know much less about how residents utilize and interpret the range of forecasts products provided to the public, and how these forecasts affect decisions to take protective action. The goal of this research is to gain this knowledge using a web-based computer simulation that allows residents to "live through" a hypothetical storm event by watching hypothetical weather broadcasts, and speaking with virtual friends and neighbors about the approaching storm.
This new technique will allow the research team to answer such basic questions as how residents make use of different media (such as television, the web, and word-of-mouth) over time as a hurricane threat evolves, and which media are most effective in triggering decisions to take protective action. In addition, by varying the content of broadcasts and the nature of the storm threat, the research will enable investigation of factors that could potentially impair preparedness-such as repeated exposure to "false alarms", or forecasts of storms that do not materialize. Armed with such knowledge, the research will hopefully contribute to an understanding of the best way to communicate warnings so as to maximize public preparedness.
OUTCOMES: Outcomes of this project include answers to basic questions regarding how residents make use of different media over time as a hurricane threat evolves, and which media are most effective in triggering decisions to take protective action. In addition, this research enables the investigation of factors that could potentially impair preparedness, such as repeated exposure to "false alarms."