Experience of extreme weather affects climate change mitigation and adaptation responses.
ABSTRACT: The winter of 2013/2014 saw a series of severe storms hit the UK, leading to widespread flooding, a major emergency response and extensive media exposure. Previous research indicates that experiencing extreme weather events has the potential to heighten engagement with climate change, however the process by which this occurs remains largely unknown, and establishing a clear causal relationship from experience to perceptions is methodologically challenging. The UK winter flooding offered a natural experiment to examine this question in detail. We compare individuals personally affected by flooding (n?=?162) to a nationally representative sample (n?=?975). We show that direct experience of flooding leads to an overall increased salience of climate change, pronounced emotional responses and greater perceived personal vulnerability and risk perceptions. We also present the first evidence that direct flooding experience can give rise to behavioural intentions beyond individual sustainability actions, including support for mitigation policies, and personal climate adaptation in matters unrelated to the direct experience.
Project description:In winter 2013/14 a succession of storms hit the UK leading to record rainfall and flooding in many regions including south east England. In the Thames river valley there was widespread flooding, with clean-up costs of over £1 billion. There was no observational precedent for this level of rainfall. Here we present analysis of a large ensemble of high-resolution initialised climate simulations to show that this event could have been anticipated, and that in the current climate there remains a high chance of exceeding the observed record monthly rainfall totals in many regions of the UK. In south east England there is a 7% chance of exceeding the current rainfall record in at least one month in any given winter. Expanding our analysis to some other regions of England and Wales the risk increases to a 34% chance of breaking a regional record somewhere each winter.A succession of storms during the 2013-2014 winter led to record flooding in the UK. Here, the authors use high-resolution climate simulations to show that this event could have been anticipated and that there remains a high chance of exceeding observed record monthly rainfall totals in many parts of the UK.
Project description:The Mekong River Delta is the rice production hub in South-east Asia and has a key role in determining rice prices in the world market. The increasing variability in the local climate due to global climate changes and the increasing severity of the ENSO phenomenon threatens rice production in the region, which has consequences for local and global food security. Though existing mapping efforts delineate the consequences of saline water intrusion during El Niño and flooding events during La Niña in the basin, research to predict future impacts in rice production is rather limited. The current work uses ORYZA, an ecophysiological model, combined with historical climate data, climate change scenarios RCP4.5 and 8.5 and climate-related risk maps to project the aggregate productivity and rice production impacts by the year 2050. Results show that in years of average salinity intrusion and flooding, the winter-spring rice crop in the MRD would experience an average annual decrease of 720,450 tons for 2020-2050 under the RCP4.5 scenario compared to the baseline of 2005-2016 average and another 1.17 million tons under the RCP8.5 scenario. The autumn-winter crop would decrease by 331,480 tons under RCP4.5 and 462,720 tons under RCP8.5. In years of severe salinity intrusion and flooding, the winter-spring rice crop would decrease by 2.13 million tons (10.29% lower than the projection for an average year) under RCP4.5 and 2.5 million tons (13.62%) under RCP8.5. Under severe conditions, the autumn-winter crop would have an average decrease of 1.3 million tons (7.36%) under RCP4.5 and 1.4 million tons (10.88%) for the RCP8.5 scenario. Given that most of the rice produced in this area is exported, a decline in rice supply at this scale would likely have implications on the global market price of rice affecting global food security. Such decline will also have implications for the rural economy and food security of Vietnam. Suggestions for corrective measures to reduce the impacts are briefly discussed.
Project description:Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and severity as a consequence of climate change and pose a significant threat to population mental health. This is the case even in temperate regions such as the United Kingdom (UK) where flooding and heat waves are forecast to become more common. We conducted a systematic review to quantify the prevalence and describe the causes of common mental health problems in populations exposed to extreme weather events in the UK. We searched Web of Science, EMBASE and PsycINFO for studies that measured the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in populations exposed to extreme weather events in the UK, published up to 12 December 2019. We included 17 studies, four of which were included in meta-analyses to determine the point prevalence of common mental health problems in the period within 12 months following extreme weather events. The point prevalence was 19.8% for anxiety (k = 4; <i>n</i> = 1458; 95% CI 7.42 to 32.15), 21.35% for depression (k = 4; <i>n</i> = 1458; 95% CI 9.04 to 33.65) and 30.36% for PTSD (k = 4; <i>n</i> = 1359; 95% CI 11.68 to 49.05). Key factors that affected mental ill health in people exposed to flooding were water depth and absence of flood warnings. Displacement from home underscored the narratives associated with people's perceptions of the impact of flooding. The high prevalence of common mental health problems suggests that the prevention of mental ill health in populations at risk or exposed to extreme weather events should be a UK public health priority.
Project description:Millennial- and multi-centennial scale climate variability during the Holocene has been well documented, but its impact on the distribution and timing of extreme river floods has yet to be established. Here we present a meta-analysis of more than 2000 radiometrically dated flood units to reconstruct centennial-scale Holocene flood episodes in Europe and North Africa. Our data analysis shows a general increase in flood frequency after 5000?cal. yr BP consistent with a weakening in zonal circulation over the second half of the Holocene, and with an increase in winter insolation. Multi-centennial length phases of flooding in UK and central Europe correspond with periods of minimum solar irradiance, with a clear trend of increasing flood frequency over the last 1000 years. Western Mediterranean regions show synchrony of flood episodes associated with negative phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation that are out-of-phase with those evident within the eastern Mediterranean. This long-term flood record reveals complex but geographically highly interconnected climate-flood relationships, and provides a new framework to understand likely future spatial changes of flood frequency.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Comparative studies of the associations between different infectious diseases and climate variability, such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, are lacking. Diarrheal illnesses, particularly cholera and shigellosis, provide an important opportunity to apply a comparative approach. Cholera and shigellosis have significant global mortality and morbidity burden, pronounced differences in transmission pathways and pathogen ecologies, and there is an established climate link with cholera. In particular, the specific ecology of Vibrio cholerae is often invoked to explain the sensitivity of that disease to climate. METHODS AND FINDINGS:The extensive surveillance data of the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh are used here to revisit the known associations between cholera and climate, and to address their similarity to previously unexplored patterns for shigellosis. Monthly case data for both the city of Dhaka and a rural area known as Matlab are analyzed with respect to their association with El Niño and flooding. Linear correlations are examined between flooding and cumulative cases, as well as for flooding and El Niño. Rank-correlation maps are also computed between disease cases in the post-monsoon epidemic season and sea surface temperatures in the Pacific. Similar climate associations are found for both diseases and both locations. Increased cases follow increased monsoon flooding and increased sea surface temperatures in the preceding winter corresponding to an El Niño event. CONCLUSIONS:The similarity in association patterns suggests a systemic breakdown in population health with changing environmental conditions, in which climate variability acts primarily through increasing the exposure risk of the human population. We discuss these results in the context of the on-going debate on the relative importance of the environmental reservoir vs. secondary transmission, as well as the implications for the use of El Niño as an early indicator of flooding and enteric disease risk.
Project description:Public acceptance is critical for sharing of genomic data at scale. This paper examines how acceptance of data sharing pertains to the perceived similarities and differences between DNA and other forms of personal data. It explores the perceptions of representative publics from the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia (n?=?8967) towards the donation of DNA and health data. Fifty-two percent of this public held 'exceptionalist' views about genetics (i.e., believed DNA is different or 'special' compared to other types of medical information). This group was more likely to be familiar with or have had personal experience with genomics and to perceive DNA information as having personal as well as clinical and scientific value. Those with personal experience with genetics and genetic exceptionalist views were nearly six times more likely to be willing to donate their anonymous DNA and medical information for research than other respondents. Perceived harms from re-identification did not appear to dissuade publics from being willing to participate in research. The interplay between exceptionalist views about genetics and the personal, scientific and clinical value attributed to data would be a valuable focus for future research.
Project description:Winter flooding events are common in some rivers and streams due to dam constructions, and flooding and waterlogging inhibit the growth of trees in riparian zones. This study investigated sex-specific morphological, physiological and ultrastructural responses to various durations of winter flooding and spring waterlogging stresses, and post-flooding recovery characteristics in Populus deltoides. There were no significant differences in the morphological, ultrastructural and the majority of physiological traits in trees subjected to medium and severe winter flooding stresses, suggesting that males and females of P. deltoides were winter flooding tolerant, and insensitive to winter flooding duration. Males were more tolerant to winter flooding stress in terms of photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence than females. Females displayed greater oxidative damage due to flooding stress than males. Males developed more efficient antioxidant enzymatic systems to control reactive oxygen species. Both sexes had similarly strong post-flooding recovery capabilities in terms of plant growth, and physiological and ultrastructural parameters. However, Males had better recovery capabilities in terms of pigment content. These results increase the understanding of poplars's adaptation to winter flooding stress. They also elucidate sex-specific differences in response to flooding stress during the dormant season, and during post-flooding recovery periods.
Project description:Changes in UK psychiatric wards have been difficult to implement. Specific areas of nursing staff resistance remain unclear. Previous healthcare research suggests that burnout is common and that managers' regard changes more positively than direct care staff. We will therefore examine whether burnout and workforce characteristics influence psychiatric nurses' perceptions of barriers to change. Psychiatric nurses (N = 125) completed perceptions measures of 'barriers to change' (VOCALISE: subscales included 'powerlessness, confidence and demotivation'); and 'burnout' (Maslach Burnout Inventory: subscales included 'emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment and depersonalization '). Staff characteristics, such as length of employment, occupational status, education, ethnicity, gender and age, were also collected. Correlations between these measures informed random-effects regression models, which were conducted to predict the barriers to change score and to explore differential effects in the subscales of VOCALISE. Perceptions of barriers to change (VOCALISE) were correlated with burnout (r = 0.39), occupational status (r = -0.18) and age (r = 0.22). Burnout (Coef. ?: 10.52; P > 0.001) and occupational status (Coef. ?: -4.58; P = 0.05) predicted VOCALISE. Emotional exhaustion (Coef. ?: 0.18; P < 0.001) and low personal accomplishment (Coef. ?: 0.21; P = 0.001) predicted powerlessness. Emotional exhaustion predicted low motivation regarding changes (Coef. ?: 0.11; P = 0.005). Low confidence predicted high levels of depersonalization (Coef ?: 0.23; P = 0.01). Direct care staff expressed significantly more powerlessness (Coef. ?: -2.60; P = 0.02) and significantly less confidence (Coef. ?: -3.07; P = 0.002) than managers. For changes to be successful in psychiatric wards, burnout will need to be addressed. Future change strategies may consider involving direct care staff to improve perceptions of barriers to change.
Project description:Education may encourage personal and collective responses to climate change, but climate education has proven surprisingly difficult and complex. Self-perception of knowledge and intelligence represent one factor that may impact willingness to learn about climate change. We explored this possibility with a case study in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015 (n = 200). Our goal was to test how gender and ethnicity influenced perceptions people had of their own climate change knowledge. Survey respondents were asked how strongly they agreed with the statement "I feel knowledgeable about climate change" (1 = strongly disagree, and 5 = strongly agree). Our survey instrument also included demographic questions about race, age, income, gender, and education, as well as respondent's experience with natural disasters and drought. We observed an interaction between education and gender where women's self-perceived knowledge was higher than men among people with low levels of educational attainment, but was higher for men than women among people with high levels of educational attainment. In addition, minority respondents self-reported lower perceived climate change knowledge than white respondents, regardless of educational attainment. This study enhances our understanding of the gender gap in self-perceptions of climate knowledge by suggesting it is contingent on educational attainment. This could be the result of stereotype-threat experienced by women and minorities, and exacerbated by educational systems. Because people who question their knowledge are often more able to learn, particularly in ideologically charged contexts, highly educated women and minorities may be more successful learning about climate change than white men.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the current context of climate change, climate forecasts for the province of Quebec (Canada) are a lengthening of the thunderstorm season and an increase in episodes of intense precipitations. These changes in the distribution of precipitations could heighten the intensity or frequency of floods, a natural hazard that concerns 80% of Quebec's riverside municipalities. For the health and safety of the at-risk population, it is very important to make sure they have acquired necessary adaptive behaviors against flooding hazard. However, there has been no assessment of these flood adaptation behaviors to date. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop and validate five indices of adaptation to flooding. METHODS:A sample of 1951 adults completed a questionnaire by phone. The questionnaire, specifically developed for this study, measured whether they did or did not adopt the behaviors that are proposed by public health officials to protect themselves against flooding. RESULTS:The results of the item, confirmatory factor, and multiple correspondence analyses contributed to the development of five indices corresponding to the adaptation behaviors to adopt according to the chronology of events: (a) pre-alert preventive behaviors, (b) behaviors to carry out after the alert is issued, (c) behaviors to adopt during a flood not requiring evacuation, (d) behaviors to adopt during a flood requiring evacuation, and (e) post-flood behaviors. The results of this study also showed that people who perceive a risk of flooding in their home in the next 5 years tend to adopt more preventive behaviors and adaptation behaviors than those who perceive little or no risk at all. They also reveal that people who feel more adverse effects on their physical or mental health tend to adopt more adaptive behaviors than those who feel little or no adverse effects on their health. CONCLUSION:Across a series of psychometric analyses, the results showed that these flood adaptation indices could properly measure a vast range of adaptive behaviors according to the chronology of events. Therefore, researchers, public health agencies, and professionals can use them to monitor the evolution of individuals' adaptive behaviors during floods.