Home Events Past Events Academic Year 2011-2012 Extreme Weather and Climate Change - March 2012


Cook Campus Center

Co-sponsored by Climate and Environmental Change Initiative
Katrina. Irene. Droughts in Texas and the Horn of Africa. Floods in the Midwest, Thailand and Pakistan. What’s next?


Does the progression of climate change portend future bouts of ‘extreme weather’?  Predicting the timing of such events remains an uncertain business.  How, then, should scientists communicate such risks to a skeptical public? How are members of the public likely to assess these risks? And how can policymakers make plans for adaptation, mitigation and development in the face of this uncertainty?  Four distinguished panelists addressed these and related questions in a series of short presentations followed by a dynamic panel and public discussion.

Video recording of the event now available from RUTV

Background readings are available here.

Integrating Science and Communication - Baruch Fischhoff,  Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy Carnegie Mellon University

You may find some of the following articles by Dr. Fischhoff a good introduction to his work on communicating science.

- Fischhoff, B. (2007) Non-persuasive communication about matters of greatest urgency: Climate change. Envrionmental Science and Technology, 41 7204-7208

- Fischhoff, B. (2011) Applying the science of communication to the communication of science. Climatic Change, 108 701-705.

- Fischhoff, B., & Kadvany, J. (2011). Risk: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

- Fischhoff, B., Brewer, N., & Downs, J.S. (eds.). (2011). Communicating risks and benefits: An evidence-based user’s guide. Washington, DC: Food and Drug Administration.

- Pidgeon, N., & Fischhoff, B. (2011). The role of social and decision sciences in communicating uncertain climate risks. Nature Climate Change, 1(1), 35-41.

If you want to learn more about communicating science, consider this symposium with Dr. Fischhoff in May.

Communicating climate change - material from Cara Pike of Climate Access

Cara Pike presented at the interactive evening session for students on communicating climate change.

Tip sheet on talking about climate science

Climate Communication and Behavior Change - written by Cara Pike, Bob Doppelt, and Meredith Herr for Climate Leadership Initiative (2010)

On the "teachable moments" of extreme weather - article from Joe Witte John Wallace (2012) Weather - and Climate - Related Extreme Events: Teachable Moments. Eos 3(11) p.120-121  


pdf Attributing Extreme Events

Gabriel Vecchi, Research Oceanographer, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

pdf Integrating Science and Policy

Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy Carnegie Mellon University  Click here for background readings.

pdf Uncertainty: Weather and Climate  (click here for slide 37 & 38 video) pdf

Joe Witte, George Mason University, Center for Climate Change Communication, broadcast meteorologist, formerly Chief Meteorologist at NBC TV Network

pdf Communicating Climate Science and Uncertainty through Scenarios and Integrated Regional Modeling

Richard Moss, Senior Staff Scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland and Visiting Senior Research Scientist at Maryland's Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center

Discussants from Rutgers University:

Lee Clarke, Sociology

Phaedra Daipha, Sociology

Benjamin Lintner, Environmental Science

Ken Miller, Earth and Planetary Sciences

David Robinson, Geography

Rachael Shwom, Human Ecology

Rutgers students interacted with our panelists in a special evening session on communicating climate change co-sponsored by Project Civility and a number of other organizations.

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