I am featured in this article on hurricane risk perceptions published on Medium today.
A year after Hurricane Harvey, the decisions to rebuild can affect the future. I just published an analysis article on the Conversation. Here is the last paragraph:
"My recent research shows that even with their flaws, FEMA flood maps influence decisions to purchase flood insurance and overall support for flood mitigation. Policy makers need to seriously consider how to accurately communicate increasing flood risks to the public. Reverting to old flood maps and granting variances to promote development is a recipe for more disasters down the road."
Hat tip to Emily Powell at the National Wildlife Federation, who brought this situation to my attention.
Climate change in everything: extreme temperature reduces daily oversight of police officers and food safety inspectors
A new paper published on the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences find evidence to suggest that environmental stressors such as hot temperature can negatively affect the psychological and physiological well-being of police officers and food safety inspectors and reduce their daily oversight activities.
The New York Time magazine just published a 30000-word long report on the history of climate politics. However, many scientists and historians of science do not think this report accurately portrays the history.
A new study published on Nature Climate Change used comprehensive data from multiple decades and social media data to test whether temperature increase would deteriorate mental well-being and further lead to rising suicide rates. They found evidence in both the U.S. and Mexico.
A new NBER working paper shows aggregate-level evidence that indicates cumulative exposure to heat can have detrimental impacts on learning. The authors suggest school air conditioning can help mitigate the adverse effects. Evidently, more studies need to be conducted in developing countries where air conditioning is not universally available.
I am honored to be invited to give a seminar talk, entitled "Understanding Human Judgement on Environmental Risks and Hazards in a Geographic Context," at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University on June 21.
The abstract of the talk is as follows:
"The coupling effects of changing climate and rising concentration of population and assets in the coastal regions have increased the threat of potential damages. There is an urgent need for coastal communities to prepare well for future hazards through mitigation and adaptation measures. A growing number of empirical studies have found that peoples’ motivation of voluntary risk mitigation and adaptation is low unless actual risk can be perceived. Risk perception is thus the precondition for adaptive behavior. It is of both intellectual and practical interests to study what affects individuals’/communities’ risk perceptions. In this talk, I will present four of my previous studies. The first three studies are focused on the individual level and the fourth on the aggregate level. I will start with understanding how local weather and climate affect American public risk perceptions of climate change. I will then discuss how the spatial context represented by past flooding events and estimated flooding risks influence costal residents’ voluntary flood insurance purchase decisions and their support for flood adaptation policies. As many policies are designed and implemented at an aggregate level (i.e., state, county, city), it is necessary to examine aggregate-level risk perceptions. In the fourth study, I will focus on how the contextual hurricane risks in conjunction with community resilience shape county-level perceptions of hurricane-related risks. I will end with a research agenda linking communities’ perception with contextual risks and community resilience. I contend that the cognitive dimension including both risk perceptions and perceived adaptive capacity is not represented in any of the existing community resilience indexes, and therefore needs to be measured, quantified, and incorporated into a more comprehensive index."
Hurricane Harvey dumped record-breaking rain in Houston in 2017. Now, a new study shows that this extreme amounts of rainfalls actually resulted from unprecedented ocean heat content. This study presents some evidence to support the link between global temperature rise with increasing hurricane intensity.
Risk perceptions have been intensively studied because they are believed to induce behavior change, which would have consequences in the world. Now, a group of researchers from multiple disciplines have taken this idea one step further by linking human behavior model with climate model. Their study has just been published on Nature Climate Change. It is exciting to see this kind of integrative approach in the climate research field. The complexity of climate change really requires concerted efforts of scientists from a wide range of disciplines.
Extremely cold temperature can be utilized by politicians as counter evidence to climate change. Scientists, trained to be cautious, need to conduct rigorous studies to either confirm or fail to confirm any hypotheses. A new study shows that the deep freeze in the U.S. is not related to climate change.