Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2013

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Symposium: Risk Perception & Responses to Weather Hazards

Room: Peale A&B   1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Chair(s): Julie Demuth

Sponsored by RCSG

M3-G.1  13:30  Examining the role of personal experience on weather risk perceptions and responses. Demuth JL*; NCAR and CSU

Abstract: As Hurricane Sandy took aim at New Jersey in October 2012, many residents likely recalled their experiences with Tropical Storm Irene which made landfall nearby only a year earlier. This is but one example of a hazardous weather situation in which in one’s past hazard experience is a relevant and potentially critical factor that influences how one responds to a future weather risk. Hazardous weather is common relative to risks posed by many other types of natural hazards (e.g., earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis), offering people many opportunities to build reservoirs of experiences with forecasts of the event as well as with the event itself, which they can then apply to future threats. It is generally thought that past experience influences one’s recognition of, perceptions of, and beliefs about a risk, which increases their behavioral motivation and intentions to protect oneself and thereby one’s actual response behaviors. Yet the empirical literature reveals mixed findings, with experience having a positive, negative, or lack of influence. Part of the reason for these mixed results may be that past hazard experience has been both simply and inconsistently conceptualized and measured. This presentation will briefly summarize how past hazard experience has been operationalized in the context of tornado, hurricane, and flood risks, and how experience has been shown empirically to relate to people’s risk perceptions and responses. Then, it will suggest a fuller, more valid way of characterizing this important risk construct.

M3-G.2  13:50  Understanding public responses to hurricane risk messages. Morss RE*, Demuth JL, Lazo JK, Dickinson K, Lazrus H, Morrow BH; National Center for Atmospheric Research

Abstract: Recent events such as Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy illustrate that weather forecasters and public officials still face major challenges in communicating about hurricane risks with members of the public. This project seeks to improve hurricane risk communication by building understanding of how members of the public respond to hurricane forecast and warning messages. This includes investigating the extent to which different hurricane messages help motivate people to take appropriate protective action, and how and why different people respond to messages differently. To begin addressing these issues, we conducted a survey of members of the public who reside in areas of coastal south Florida that are at risk from hurricanes and storm surge. The survey presented respondents with different risk messages about a hypothetical hurricane situation, based on modifications of the National Hurricane Center’s track forecast cone product. Respondents were then asked about their intentions to take different protective actions (e.g., evacuate, withdraw cash from the bank) as well as questions about their perceptions of the risks and the risk message. The survey also included questions on respondents’ sociodemographics, worldviews, past hurricane experiences, and perceived barriers to evacuation. The analysis examines how respondents’ intended protective responses were influenced by their characteristics, their experiences and perceptions, and the different message elements tested. We will discuss results from this analysis, as well as initial work applying risk theories (e.g., Cultural Theory of Risk, Extended Parallel Process Model) to help understand the findings.

M3-G.3  14:10  Modeling Hurricane Preparedness and Evacuation Intention. Trumbo CW*, Peek L, Meyer MA, Marlatt H, McNoldy B, Gruntfest E, Schubert W; COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY (1-4,7); UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI (5) UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO COLORADO SPRINGS (6)

Abstract: Our research team has just completed data collection for a project under support from the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Dynamics of Hurricane Risk Perception, NSF CMMI-0968273). In this project we have used mail survey methods to study a panel of individuals located in the coastal area of the U.S. extending from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Brownsville, Texas. Study participants were sampled in a spatially random manner within an approximately 10-mile buffer along the coast. The same individuals were surveyed three times at one-year intervals. The initial response rate was 56%, with panel continuation rates of 75% and 85%, yielding a sample size ranging from approximately 650 to 400 depending on configuration. In our analysis, the level of hurricane preparedness and behavioral intention for evacuation are modeled by examining factors including hurricane risk perception, optimistic bias, individual and household vulnerability characteristics, evacuation barriers, and community resilience indicators. This presentation will offer a broad overview of the study and its preliminary results. Findings to date indicate that risk perception can be seen as both an affective and cognitive orientation of the individual, and we have developed a reliable item inventory for its measurement. We also examine optimistic bias for hurricane preparedness and evacuation and find that it is a related but independent factor from risk perception. Also among the results we find that households with disabilities, females, and having less confidence in community resilience is associated with greater levels of hurricane risk perception. Also, disabilities in the household, less hurricane experience, and fewer evacuation barriers (e.g., work or family related, transportation) are associated with a greater intention to evacuate from a major storm. Preparedness is moderately predicted by a number of variables including risk perception.

M3-G.4  14:30  “Every single summer”: Mental models of hurricane risks, forecasts and warnings in Miami. Bostrom A.*, Morss R.E., Lazo J.K., Demuth J.L., Lazrus H.; University of Washington

Abstract: Mental models interviews with a random public sample (N=28) from Miami-Dade County in Florida and a follow-on web-based survey of coastal residents in Florida (N=460) illustrate high hurricane awareness, varying depending on length of residence in the area. Residents express concern about wind, flying debris, and precipitation-related flooding, as well as risks encountered in preparing for and cleaning up after hurricanes, but say much less about storm surge. Interviewees describe customary preparations for and activities during hurricane season that paint a picture of a hurricane culture. Inundated with hurricane news during events, some interviewees find the media saturation tiring. The paper concludes with an assessment of reactions to forecasts and warnings, and a discussion of how these relate to causal beliefs about hurricane hazards and implications for the hurricane forecast and warning system. Acknowledgements: Funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF 0729302) is gratefully acknowledged. Partial support for this research came from a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant, R24 HD042828, to the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology at the University of Washington.

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