Societal Impacts of Weather and Climate


We envision the integration of social sciences throughout the Weather and Climate Enterprise, where the impacts of weather and climate on society are more fully understood, leading to improved decision making.

The Committee’s mission is to:

Advise and serve the NWA in matters related to societal impacts of weather and climate;
Raise awareness, encourage, and support efforts within the NWA relating to societal impacts of weather and climate;
Support the application of social science principles into operational meteorology and decision support for hazardous weather and high impact events, as well as day-to-day forecasting and operations; and
Develop and strengthen relationships between social scientists, operational meteorologists, and decision makers, particularly those responsible for public safety
The Committee will achieve its mission by:

Participating in the NWA Annual Meeting and other NWA sponsored or co-sponsored conferences and workshops to share recent research and applications and enhance dialogue about societal impacts of weather and climate;
Engaging in educational activities concerning the societal impacts of weather and climate and its application to decision making processes;
Interacting with and serving as a resource for other NWA Committees regarding activities and initiatives that involve societal impacts. For example, this could include: design, implementation and analysis of surveys; development of conference sessions, web page content, and outreach projects and materials;
Facilitating partnerships between meteorology, climatology, and social science communities (including multi-disciplinary groups such as WAS*IS) to advance applied research on the societal impacts of weather and climate and the application to hydrometeorological forecasting and decision support.
Providing advice, information and policy statements to the NWA Council on matters concerning societal impacts of weather and climate


Committee Members:

Jen Henderson, Chair
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA

Tyra Brown
Silver Spring, MD

Holly Hassenzahl
Weather Central
Madison, WI
608-274-5789 x288

Amy Stevermer, Webmaster
Boulder, CO

Rob D'Arienzo
Vermont Electric Power Company
Rutland, VT

Doug Hilderbrand
Silver Spring, MD

Taylor Trogdon
Miami, FL

Sheldon Drobot
Boulder, CO

Kelly Mahoney
Boulder, CO

Castle Williams
Dept of Geography
University of Georgia

Jessica Fieux
Tallahassee, FL

Nate Hardin
Boulder, CO
(303) 497-7252

Minh Phan
Geography/Atmospheric Sciences
East Carolina University


Highlights and Headlines

Tornado Town, USA

The city of Moore, Oklahoma, experienced four devastating tornadoes in just 16 years. In this article, Moore residents and emergency managers share their experiences in powerful testimony to the destruction that tornadoes can cause. Weather experts, including Harold Brooks (NOAA/NSSL) and Greg Carbin (NOAA/NCEP), offer insights into tornado statistics and processes and explore the question of whether Moore experiences a disparate number of these devastating events.    -June 3, 2016

Societal Impacts Committee Webinar — Multi-Sector Communication for Large Events: Decision Support Services and The Super Bowl

A webinar hosted by the NWA Societal Impacts committee is available for viewing via this link at Storify. The Storify captures the webinar discussion involving meteorological and policy experts from the National Weather Service and Earth Networks. The experts outlined their roles in providing Decision Support Services (DSS) and how different sectors of the Weather Enterprise are involved in supporting large events. These and related issues were discussed in light of a recent event: Super Bowl 2016.    -March 7, 2016

Previous Highlights

Better Integrating National Weather Service Partners: Examples from Northern Indiana

Strategies for bringing together partners in weather forecasting, communication, and decison making are among the topics summarized in the March issue of the NOAA/NWS Aware newsletter. The article covers three main areas: partner-driven forecaster workshops, Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) meetings, and focused Integrated Warning Team (IWT) workshops. Other articles examine the use of drones for storm damage assessment as well as partnership building for backcountry safety.    -March 25, 2016

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report: Increasing Sea Levels

Scientists have found that seas are now rising faster than they have in 2,800 years. According to a study by Bob Kopp at Rutgers University and his global team of co-authors, seas rose about 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) from 1900 to 2000, for a rate of 1.4 millimeters per year. The current rate as of early 2016, according to NASA, is 3.4 millimeters per year, suggesting that sea level rise is still accelerating.    -March 7, 2016

January 2016 Warmest on Record

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January 2016 was the highest for the month since record keeping began in 1880. The National Climate Data Center reports that for January 2016, ocean surface temperatures were the highest of any January on record. Averaged land surface temperatures were second highest of any January on record at 2.79°F (1.83°C) above the 20th century average.    -March 7, 2016

Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters, Record Heat

In 2015, ten weather and climate disasters, each exceeding $1 billion in costs, affected the U.S. As reported by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the billion-dollar events included a drought, two floods, five severe storms, a wildfire event, and a winter storm. Overall, the events resulted in the deaths of 155 people. 2015 was also the second warmest year on record for the U.S. The 2015 annual average U.S. temperature was 54.4°F, topping the 20th century average by 2.4°F.    -February 2016


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