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Photo courtesy of NASA: STS047-151-618 Hurricane Bonnie (1992) Tropical Cyclone Modification: Decision- Analysis and Public Perceptions Kelly Klima Wändi.

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Presentation on theme: "Photo courtesy of NASA: STS047-151-618 Hurricane Bonnie (1992) Tropical Cyclone Modification: Decision- Analysis and Public Perceptions Kelly Klima Wändi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Photo courtesy of NASA: STS Hurricane Bonnie (1992) Tropical Cyclone Modification: Decision- Analysis and Public Perceptions Kelly Klima Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Kerry Emanuel, Iris Grossmann, Granger Morgan SEA talk April 22,

2 Today we will discuss two components of my research. Does Tropical Cyclone Modification Make Sense? A Decision-Analytic Perspective – Background – Results Public Perceptions of Hurricanes and Hurricane Modification – Interview – Survey – Results 2

3 Two general approaches exist for controlling hurricane damage Hardening structures Currently practiced nationwide Called “mitigation” by FEMA and others Includes shutters, dams, better roof connections, etc Works better for moderate storms 3 How do hardening and modification compare? Hurricane modification Theorized since 1930s DHS has recently reopened research into the topic Works better for large storms

4 A commonly suggested hardening technique is home shutters 4 Figure courtesy of Hurricane Proof Annualized cost to shutter all houses (30yrs, 5% discount rate ) Florida = $ B Georgia = $ B

5 The modification technique closest to implementation is wind-wave pumps 5 Figure courtesy of Philip Kithil, Atmocean 300m pipe is optimal Deployment Cost Seasonal = $ B Per TC = $ B

6 We find modification may be more competitive than hardening 6 Control

7 Benefit-cost analysis alone does not capture the complexity of this decision Hardening and modification may be done in parallel Other issues include uncertainty, liability/ethics, risk tolerance, political/budgetary/time restraints Remaining doctoral work will be completed by fall – Storm surge damages, Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel (MIT) – Public perceptions of hurricanes, Wändi Bruine de Bruin 7

8 I examined public perceptions of hurricane modification in Florida How does the public evaluate hurricane modification compared to its alternatives? How does anger at scientists vary across hurricane modification scenarios? How is anger at scientists related to recognizing the uncertainty inherent in hurricane forecasts? 8

9 Ten Florida residents were asked general nondirective questions over a telephone 9 Topics – General Knowledge – Damages – Modification – Forecasts – Definitions Demographics – 5 women – 7 living in a house – 10 with high school education – 4 with college degree We prompted for details while maintaining a friendly and nonjudgmental tone.

10 Hurricane modification is largely unknown, and distrusted 10 Only one person suggested hurricane modification as a way to decrease damages from hurricanes “Have you ever heard about the possibility of changing hurricanes to reduce their damage?” “You can’t change nature” “It will never be possible” Hurricanes are “too big and powerful to be changed” The government might be “using some kind of secret weapon or something”

11 Commission may lead to public resistance independent of the outcome 11 “How much of the problem is because scientists don't understand hurricanes, and how much is because sometimes nature can't be perfectly predicted?” Strong expressions of fear and anger were evoked by all hurricane modification scenarios including where unintended consequences were due to the natural variability A larger sample is needed to systematically examine people’s response. 100% of respondents

12 A total of 157 individuals in the Miami, Florida area completed an online survey 12 Topics – Damages – Uncertainty – Expected Landfall Locations – Emotional Response to Hurricane Modification – Hurricane Modification Scenarios – General Knowledge – Demographics Demographics – Age: 40 (SD=15) – Salary: $74.3K (SD=$52.9K) – 66.7% women – 78.4% live in an urban area – 50.6% in an easily flooded area – 57.3% live in a single story home – 3.1 people per household, with 0.98 children and 0.18 elderly, infirm, or handicapped

13 Hurricane modification is unfamiliar and perceived as ineffective 13 In free form response, no one mentioned hurricane modification as a way to reduce damages. “How effective in reducing damages [are these] in Miami, Florida?” – Stronger conviction than the midpoint, p<.001 Having buildings up to code, Cutting old tree branches, Bringing in loose lawn items, Putting the car in the garage, Using hurricane shutters, Being prepared (with enough food, water, and batteries), Using tie-downs to strengthen wall to roof connections in buildings, Raising coastal buildings above ground level by struts or some other method, Having better dikes (walls that keep out the ocean), Evacuating everyone but emergency personnel, Using metal roofs, Hunkering down (sheltering in place) in a secure part of the house, Building new buildings farther from the coast – Lesser conviction than the midpoint, p<.001 A government attempt to change a hurricane to reduce damage

14 In the future, scientists will likely try to change a TC to help people, but it’s a bad idea and won’t work 14 Interviewees’ statements (11 in total) Mean (SD) Agreement Scientists will most likely try to change a hurricane to help people4.35 *** (1.28) If the government tries to change a hurricane, they are trying to help the general public 3.89 *** (1.50) It is a bad idea to change a hurricane because it might make things worse 3.59 *** (1.80) Hurricanes are too big and powerful to ever be changed by humans3.49 ** (1.83) One-sample t-tests examined whether statements differed from the midpoint (=3), indicating beliefs held with stronger conviction ( *** p<.001; ** p<.01) 0=completely agree, 6= completely disagree The government will use the ability to change storms as a weapon2.34 *** (1.86) Today, it is possible to change a hurricane to reduce its damage1.32 *** (1.29)

15 Respondents expected hurricane modification would change a storm 15 A Cat 1 or Cat 5 is expected to make landfall at position 4 After hurricane modification, Landfall location is expected to move, and uncertainty decreases Intensity is expected to decrease.

16 Respondents were angrier when there were higher damages and when the hurricane hit them 16 Hurricane scenario Path compared to prediction Damage compared to prediction Mean (SD) anger at scientists, 0 (=Not at all) to 6 (=Extremely) SameMore2.89 (2.10) Same 1.75 (1.86) SameLess1.03 (1.52) DifferentMore3.48 (2.08) DifferentSame3.06 (2.10) DifferentLess1.88 (1.80) Those displaying more uncertainty were angrier.

17 Participants recognizing forecast uncertainty were angrier at scientists 17 Follow-up Question: Would teaching people about hurricanes and modification techniques will help or hurt their willingness to accept hurricane modification? Resultant Damages Recognizing Forecast Uncertainty Anger at scientists

18 Our findings do not bode well for supporters of hurricane modification 18 HOWEVER…. If the efficacy of techniques can be increased, people may be willing to support hurricane modification Open and honest communication between scientists and public would be needed. A carefully explained technique that is effective against wind and/or flooding damages and does not change track may be acceptable to Florida residents.

19 Kelly Klima Ph.D. candidate Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University K. Klima, M. G. Morgan, I. Grossmann, K. Emanuel. "Does it Make Sense to Modify Tropical Cyclones? A Decision Analytic Assessment". Submitted to ES&T. Funding provided by:


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