Communication Researchers Receive NOAA Grant to Develop Public Messaging Strategies for Severe Weather Threats

Communication Researchers Receive NOAA Grant to Develop Public Messaging Strategies for Severe Weather Threats

Despite the development of largely effective warning systems, people routinely die from severe weather like tornadoes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) recently awarded Drs. Anita Atwell SeateBrooke Fisher Liu, and Ji Youn Kim a $368,675 grant to improve how forecasters communicate severe weather threats.

Along with Co-PI Mr. Daniel Hawblitzel from the National Weather Service (NWS) Nashville, the University of Maryland communication faculty will conduct workshops with NWS forecasters and their broadcast media partners to co-construct messages to test in experiments with members of the public. The experiments will identify the most effective communication strategies to increase publics’ tornado literacy, message source trust, satisfaction with their weather forecast office, and appropriate protective action taking.

In the final project stage, the research team will work with the NWS Training Center to develop new risk communication training modules for forecasters across the nation.

The grant was funded as part of NOAA's Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment-Southeast (VORTEX-SE) research program, which brings together meteorologists, researchers and social scientists to collaborate on the analysis of storms and conditions that produce tornadoes in the Southeast United States. VORTEX-SE seeks to understand how environmental factors characteristic of the southeastern U.S. affect the formation, intensity, structure, and path of tornadoes in this region. The initiative also seeks to determine the best methods for communicating the forecast uncertainty related to these events to the public, and evaluate public response.

For more information on NOAA's VORTEX-SE program, visit: https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/projects/vortexse/

August 28, 2020


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