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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Human System Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
 Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise

Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise

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Report Brief

This report from the Board on Human-Systems Integration, the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, and the Board on Environmental Change and Society, addresses the growing recognition that a host of social and behavioral factors affect how we prepare for, observe, predict, respond to, and are impacted by weather hazards.

For example, an individual’s response to a severe weather event may depend on their understanding of the forecast, prior experience with severe weather, concerns about their other family members or property, their capacity to take the recommended protective actions, and numerous other factors. Indeed, it is these factors that can determine whether or not a potential hazard becomes an actual disaster. Thus, it is essential to bring to bear expertise in the social and behavioral sciences (SBS)—including disciplines such as anthropology, communication, demography, economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology—to understand how people’s knowledge, experiences, perceptions, and attitudes shape their responses to weather risks and to understand how human cognitive and social dynamics affect the forecast process itself.

The report explores and provides guidance on the challenges of integrating social and behavioral sciences within the weather enterprise. It assesses current SBS activities, describes the potential value of improved integration of SBS and barriers that impede this integration, develops a research agenda, and identifies infrastructural and institutional arrangements for successfully pursuing SBS-weather research and the transfer of relevant findings to operational settings.

Sponsor:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the National Weather Service and the Office of Weather and Air Quality)


Committee Members

Ann Bostrom (Co-chair), University of Washington, Seattle
William Hooke (Co-chair), American Meteorological Society
Raymond Ban, Ban and Associates
Ellen Bass, Drexel University
David Budescu, Fordham University
Julie Demuth, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Michael Eilts, Weather Decision Technologies, Inc
Charles Manski, Northwestern University
Richard Nelson, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Yvette Richardson, Pennsylvania State University
Jacqueline Snelling, Federal Emergency Management Agency
John Toohey-Morales, WTVJ NBC-6
Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware

Laurie Geller (Study Director)
Heather Kreidler (Associate Program Officer)
Amanda Purcell (Associate Program Officer)
Erin Markovich (Program Assistant) National Academies of Sciences Engineering, and Medicine




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