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How do 'Six Americas' of Sarasota Students See Sea Level Rise Uncertainty? Preliminary Results from a Survey of Map Users

How do 'Six Americas' of Sarasota Students See Sea Level Rise Uncertainty? Preliminary Results from a Survey of Map Users

David Retchless, Penn State University

When mapping highly uncertain hazards such as sea level rise (SLR), cartographers often consider both whether and how to show uncertainty. While several studies have suggested that including uncertainty can improve decision outcomes, few have considered how uncertainty interacts with audience characteristics to affect the decision process. To address this gap, I use surveys of college students to assess how the depiction of uncertainty on an online SLR mapping tool for the Sarasota, Florida area interacts with map users' individual differences to affect their perceptions of the hazard, interaction with the map, and subsequent decision making. Individual differences considered include an audience segmentation analysis performed using the "Global Warming's Six Americas" framework. It is hoped that the preliminary results presented here will help cartographers create hazard maps that are better tailored to their audience, more engaging, and more likely to encourage thoughtful decision making.


Nathaniel V. KELSO

October 09, 2014


  1. How Do “Six Americas” of Sarasota Students See Sea Level

    Rise Uncertainty? Methods & Preliminary Results for a Survey of Map Users David Retchless Penn State Geography
  2. Overview   l  Jus+fica+on   l  Why  sea  level  rise

     maps?   l  Why  uncertainty?   l  Which  audiences?   l  Research  Ques+ons   l  Methods   l  Map   l  Survey   l  Preliminary  Results  
  3. Why  sea  level  rise  maps?   l  Popular  climate  change

     communica+on   approach   0   10   20   30   40   50   60   70   80   90   100   Rela%ve  Search  Volume   climate  change   map   sea  level  rise  map   Google Trends
  4. Why  sea  level  rise  maps?   l  Making  climate  change

     tangible,  locally  relevant,   personally  meaningful  for  doubNul,  disengaged?   l  Within  geography:  Human  Dimensions,  AAG  Global  Change  in   Local  Places  project   l  Cultural  Cogni+on,  Dan  Kahan:  local  risks  overcome  "compe+ng   poli+cal  brands"   l  Global  Warming's  Six  Americas,  Anthony  Leiserowitz:  most   Americans  are  interested  in  climate  change,  but  believe  it  will   affect  others  more  than  themselves   l  APA  climate  change  report:  discoun+ng,  place  a]achment  –  make   it  local,  relevant  to  everyday  experience  
  5. Why  uncertainty?   l  Understanding  sea  level  rise  (SLR)  requires

      understanding  of  uncertainty   l  Spa+al  uncertainty:  DEM  and  +dal  models   l  A]ribute  &  temporal  uncertainty:  How  much  SLR,  how   fast?  
  6. Why  uncertainty?   l  Debate  about  effects  of  explicitly  

    communica+ng  climate  change  uncertainty   l  Increase  trust  in  scien+sts,  data  (honest  broker)?   l  Dismiss  or  discount  data  as  unreliable,  specula+ve?  
  7. Which  audiences?   l  Climate  change  beliefs   l  Cultural

     cogni+on   of  risk   l  Global  Warming's     Six  Americas  
  8. Which  audiences?   l  Hazard  experience   l  Hazard  proximity

      l  Numeracy   l  Map  experience   l  Gender  
  9. Research  Ques+ons   l  How  do  maps  of  sea  level

     rise  affect  college   students'  SLR  risk  percep+ons?   l  How  do  risk  percep+ons  and  map  interac+on   vary  across  audiences  with  different:   l  climate  change  beliefs  (“Six  Americas,”  Alarmed-­‐   Dismissive)?   l  hazard  exposure,  demographics,  or  abili+es   l  How  do  these  audiences  interpret  SLR   uncertainty?  
  10. Methods:  Map   l  Sarasota  &  southern     Manatee

     coun+es   l  LIDAR  data  from     Florida  Division  of     Emergency     Management   l  5x5  k  raster;     0.6  k  ver+cal     accuracy  
  11. Methods:  Map   l  Select  year,  sea  level  rise  amount

  12. Methods:  Map   l  Choose  view:  flood  depth  or  flood

  13. Methods:  Map   l  Sidebar  with  links  to  SLR  resources

  14. Methods:  Map  Interac+on   l  Track  with  Google  Analy+cs  

    l  Map  zoom,  pan   l  SLR  year,     amount,     view   l  Sidebar     link  clicks  
  15. Methods:  Survey  Sample   l  College  and  university  students  in

     intro   geography,  earth,  and  environmental  science   courses   l  Distant  hazard:  Penn  State  Students   l  Near  hazard:  Sarasota  Students    
  16. Methods:  Survey  Risk  Assessment   l  Pre-­‐  and  post-­‐map  interac+on

  17. Methods:  Survey  Map  Tasks   l  Es+mate  average  flood  depth,

     probability   l  Evaluate  importance  of  protec+ng  place  
  18. Methods:  Survey  Map  Tasks   l  Select  loca+on  with  most

     disrup+ve   expected  impact  
  19. Expected  Results   l  Varia+on  in  respondents'  risk  percep+ons  will

     decrease  aker   interac+ng  with  the  map   l  Risk  percep+ons  and  map  interac+on  will  be  higher  among:   l  Those  alarmed  or  concerned  about  climate  change   l  Egalitarian  communitarians   l  Women,  those  with  flood  experience   l  Flood  depth  and  probability  es+mates  will  be  more  accurate   among:   l  Proficient  map  users   l  High  numeracy  respondents   l  Mo+vated  reasoning  will  shape  uncertainty  interpreta+on  based   on  climate  change  beliefs  and  worldviews.  
  20. Preliminary  Risk  Percep+on  Results   How much risk do you

    believe sea level rise poses in the Sarasota area?
  21. References   l  Associa+on  of  American  Geographers  GCLP  Research  Team.

     2003.  Global   Change  in  Local  Places.  Cambridge,  UK:  Cambridge  University  Press.   l  Kahan,  Dan  M.,  Hank  Jenkins-­‐Smith,  and  DonaldBraman.  2011.  "Cultural   cogni+on  of  scien+fic  consensus."  Journal  of  Risk  Research  14.2  (2011):  147-­‐174.   l  Maibach,  Edward,  Connie  Roser-­‐Renouf,  and  Anthony  Leiserowitz.  2009.  "Global   Warming's  Six  Americas  2009:  An  audience  segmenta+on  analysis."   l  NOAA  Coastal  Services  Center.  2010.  Mapping  Inunda+on  Uncertainty.  h]p:// www.csc.noaa.gov/slr/viewer/assets/pdfs/ Eleva+on_Mapping_Confidence_Methods.pdf  (last  accessed  14  February  2013).   l  Swim,  Janet,  et  al.  2010.  "Psychology  and  global  climate  change:  Addressing  a   mul+-­‐faceted  phenomenon  and  set  of  challenges.  A  report  by  the  American   Psychological  Associa+on’s  task  force  on  the  interface  between  psychology  and   global  climate  change"  (last  accessed  9  April  2014).    
  22. None