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Using climate forecasts across a state’s emergency management network

Source(s):  American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

This paper examines the application by emergency managers in rural areas of forecasts of El Niño and other seasonal climate events, in the state of Oregon (United States of America) to (1) improve the understanding of how diffuse networks can help overcome the obstacles to the use of complex scientific information and (2) to widen the use of seasonal forecasts to improve flood management.

The paper's findings are the following:

  • Complex scientific information alone is too uncertain to provoke action for most people. Complex scientific information may be only a justification after the fact for actions that emergency managers would take anyway.
  • Seasonal climate forecasts are more than eyewash in Lane and Harney counties. They contribute to the recognition of an increased likelihood of floods, and they help emergency managers convince others to take action.
  • The capacities of particular emergency managers and their counties matter as much or more than the forecasts for motivating action.
  • Overall, emergency managers who take seriously their role in motivating others to take action before a disaster, who are well networked, and who have adequate capacity to interpret and communicate about hazards and disasters and tie that information to specific actions, appear to be most likely to use seasonal climate forecasts, and most likely to have the tools required to prepare their counties for hazards and disasters.

Natural Hazards Review, Volume 17, Issue 3, August 2016. This document is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.



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  • Using climate forecasts across a state’s emergency management network
  • Publication date 2016
  • Author(s) Roberts, P.S.; Wernstedt, K.
  • Number of pages 11 p.

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