15:00-16:30 Aug 6, 2021
Mobilizing a Collaborative Community for Probabilistic Hazard Information
Associate professor Hamilton Bean, Department of Communication, University of Colorado Denver (Visiting prof. of DRS-DPRI)
For the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), developments in Probabilistic Hazard Information (PHI) and mobile public alert and warning technology create new challenges and opportunities for improving public understanding and response to severe weather warnings. On one hand, NWS intends to eventually communicate PHI-enhanced warnings for tornados that include indicators of lower forecast confidence and higher uncertainty. On the other hand, we know from decades of social science research concerning public alert and warning that protective action compliance improves when warning messages are specific, consistent, confident, clear, and accurate. The “Mobilizing a Collaborative Community for Probabilistic Hazard Information” project (“MCC-PHI”) therefore provides social science evidence for how to manage this tension. Making weather warning more effective has not only to do with improved PHI and related forecast capabilities among technical experts, but also with translating PHI in ways that demonstrably improve public sensemaking and response. In this lecture, major uncertainties generated by the emerging PHI paradigm for weather warning are discussed, and community collaboration is proposed to further investigate these issues.
Hamilton Bean, Ph.D., MBA, APR, is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. He also serves as Director of the University of Colorado Denver’s International Studies Program. He specializes in the study of communication and security. He was part of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security-funded research team that investigated the optimization of Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages for imminent threats. His research has been cited by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in rulemakings that govern the use of the WEA system. He has earned funding from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership to study mobile public alert and warning in the United States and internationally. He is Associate Editor for Natural Hazards Review, and his research has been published in numerous international academic journals and edited volumes. His latest book is Mobile Technology and the Transformation of Public Alert and Warning (Praeger Security International, 2019). He returns to DPRI this summer as a Visiting Professor after having served as a Guest Researcher in 2019.