Information and communications: challenges for the chemical sciences in the 21st century

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It is imperative that all warning communication has one consistent message, with no contradiction to cause confusion. This is essential to establish trust between the public and other users that the information is correct Mileti and Sorenson Further challenges can arise from the accumulation of multiple disasters, e. It is also challenging to determine the cost benefit of a VEWS prior to the impact of the event and as a result, many disregard the value of the system, particularly for events with a long-return frequency.

Typically, government institutions that manage potential disasters use simple prescriptive policy. Within this they recognise that decision-making is more complex and that local practitioners and vulnerable populations are increasingly managing disasters relevant to them using community-based warning and emergency response systems UN ISDR PPEW Such community-based warning and response systems are based upon local capabilities and technologies where communities can have ownership, generating a bottom-up approach. Although initially considered a radical approach when introduced by Hewitt , community-based early warning and response systems have gained momentum and have been proven effective and empowering during crises Andreastuti et al.

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The way that people perceive information that has been communicated to them is vitally important, as it will shape how they frame problems and make decisions. There is significant progress in the role of various tools to assist in applying new knowledge making use of communicative products such as: map making, messages in preparedness products, infograms, and the simple verbal conveyance of crisis communication. Equally there are numerous new challenges and benefits to effective communication, For example there may be too little monitoring data, which increases the uncertainties in forecasts.

In a few select cases where there are many different types of monitoring methods available, it may be difficult for scientists to synthesise all the information into a forecast in a timely manner. Equally, the expansion of social media has opened lines of communication both to and from volcano observatories in new transparent and engaging ways, as seen via Twitter feeds, new citizen science apps, and community based monitoring e. However, it also has placed pressure on the credibility of information, raising the risk of false data and interpretations that require careful management, and new levels of trust and engagement that must be built between the volcano observatories and the publics.

Maps are increasingly being used as a tool in conveying uncertainty, risk, and warnings. Volcano hazard maps are widely used to graphically portray the nature and extent of hazards and vulnerabilities and, in a few cases, the societal risk. Such maps may also be used to designate prohibited, restricted entry, or warning zones. They vary widely in style and content from nation to nation, and from volcano to volcano. In the most basic form, a volcano hazard map consists of hazard zones based on the underlying geology and history of past eruptions to define the extent of past flows and tephra falls.

More sophisticated hazard maps utilize detailed geologic mapping and modelling of potential flow paths, often using Digital Elevation Models DEMs and statistical or numerical models that simulate flows of varying volume and duration. Some new approaches use automatic GIS-based systems that incorporate numerical model results and display the results in a GIS format Felpeto et al. These automated methods provide the capability to quickly modify the hazard map during a rapidly developing crisis. In addition, a new generation of numerical models have enabled near-real-time probabilistic forecast maps of ash cloud and ash fall hazards Schwaiger et al.

Regardless of their degree of sophistication, hazard maps are a fundamental means to convey the spatial distribution of danger zones to emergency managers and the public. Although not everyone can effectively read a topographic map, shaded relief and 3D oblique projections using DEMs provide more effective means to communicate map information Newhall ; Haynes et al. Fearnley investigated the role of decision-making in the USGS when assigning a volcano alert level, which established that informal communication is essential to enable key user groups to determine the extent of risk and likelihood of events.

This was commonly achieved via face-to-face meetings, workshops and exercises, and telephone conversations, alongside web resources. Interactions are conducted in a multi-directional manner as various stakeholders may discuss relevant issues, moving away from typical one or two-way communication models. Today, observatories have developed a number of institutional communication tools, whether they are simply telephone calls or meetings that enable dialogue, or a one-way tool of information from the observatory via standardised messages targeted to specific users, such as the Volcano Activity Notice VAN or Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation VONA.

Information can be communicated via daily, weekly, or monthly formal updates, status or information reports, or via Tweets, social networking, and the Smithsonian Weekly Updates. With so many options available it is up to the observatory and their stakeholders to establish what tools best serve their purpose.

This is typically led by emergency-management agencies. Coordinates response and communication among multiple agencies and jurisdictions. Source USGS. The above solutions are four of many that exist but are those of greatest focus currently within the field. It is the intention to enable the next stage of understanding of volcanic crisis management in the s to help navigate strong, easy, and effective communication.

To do this, the book has three parts focusing on various lessons surrounding volcanic crisis communication. First, it is well established that due to the longevity of hazards and the uncertainties in lead-time, and because of their numerous primary and secondary hazards, volcanoes pose a particular challenge. However, it is the very challenge of providing warnings with great uncertainties that makes volcanoes one of the most complex phenomena to manage and communicate. Volcanic hazards vary in location, scale and duration as explored independently in Part 1 of the volume.

Hazards range from: volcanic bombs within close proximity of a vent Fitzgerald et al. Volcanic hazards often evolve over time, becoming more or less intense, or changing in character e. It is this diverse nature that poses significant challenges to the idea of creating a single VEWS to communicate unrest and danger. In fact, there are numerous VEWS in place for volcanoes globally; many tailored for the specific hazard of a particular volcano, e. Part 1 explores the specific nuances each hazard presents to developing effective volcanic crisis communication, for specific or for a combination of hazards that may occur during a crisis.

In essence, we are asking how can we move forward and develop more robust and effective early warning and, volcanic hazard, and risk communication.

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Using a range of international examples, Part 2 considers: small island states Komorowski et al. There are old stories told with fresh eyes, old stories told for the first time, and some new stories that require humility to learn from. Part 3 examines the numerous ways in which we communicate, not just across the science-society divide, but also across different disciplines including: religion Chester et al. However we choose to communicate, whether via: oral histories Procter et al.

Awareness of the challenges of communicating across cultures is also of great importance. Participatory methods have been highly successful to foster the participation of local communities Cadag et al. Mistakes in managing these numerous complexities can restrict the maintenance of trust between the various stakeholders involved. We can negotiate these difficult interactions by developing tools to reduce the uncertainties and help decision making processes.

Volcano Crisis Communication: Challenges and Solutions in the 21st Century | SpringerLink

Core to the communication process is the ability to make decisions about what to do, when to do it, and who is affected, what can be done, what resources need to be made available to support these decisions. An exemplary set up is the co-ordination between the USA, Japan, and Russia in managing airbourne ash hazards for aviation Igarashi et al.

What all these chapters have in common, is that they demonstrate the value of communication and the open and timely sharing of knowledge, so finding a way to generate meaningful understanding; the need to keep both relationships and procedures strong and current; and the ability to cope with rapid changes in both society and volcanic activity. There have been many lessons learnt and many new tools are available to both volcanologists, emergency management practitioners, and the public; no doubt the future will present us with new challenges to overcome.

The ability to adapt and evolve before, during and after a crisis is of utmost importance and this can only happen through open, honest and robust communication. This sounds simple and this volume provides evidence that simplicity and clarity are often key to successful outcomes in volcanic crisis.

The chemical industry is trying to solve a 21st-century problem with a 20th-century approach

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Open Access. First Online: 06 December Download chapter PDF. The challenge today remains how to engage with a vulnerable population so that, when the time is right, appropriate actions are taken to mitigate loss of life and livelihood. If anything, the 21st century presents ever-increasing challenges to this goal. These individuals were accused of making poor judgements on uncertainty that affected their communication to the public, and the risk-management actions the public took in response Benessia and De Marchi ; Alexander ; Bretton et al.

The Nevado del Ruiz disaster prompted a significant paradigm shift within the global volcanological community towards developing a keener understanding of local contexts when issuing volcanic warnings. This event, however, is not isolated. Societal influence can be demonstrated by: the influence of political interference at Mt.

Helens, USA First successful implementation of volcano alert levels as a warning tool; first use of probabilistic event tree Lipman and Mullineaux , Newhall and Hoblitt , Newhall and Pallister Long Valley Caldera, USA First caldera unrest at Long Valley resulting in leaked news that eroded trust between the local communities and the scientists Hill et al.

The realisation that science is not enough, it needs to be effectively communicated and understood Hall , Voight Pinatubo, Philippines Eruption of Pinatubo, daily use of Volcano Early Warning Systems VEWS to alert public and trigger evacuations that saved tens of thousands of lives. In , Tilling identified five specific measures in volcano hazard mitigation to provide short- or long-term mitigation that collectively brings together the components required for effective volcanic management.

He explored the relationships between these groups and their required actions in practice by identifying five key areas: i identification of high-risk volcanoes; ii hazard identification, assessment and zonation; iii volcano monitoring and eruption forecasting; iv engineering-oriented measures, and v volcanic emergency management Fig. It is important to note that the critical role of volcanic emergency management was identified as being undervalued, partly because of the complexities of society. By , Peterson and Tilling demonstrated that volcano warnings were largely hindered by institutional weaknesses in emergency-response procedures and infrastructures, particularly the poor integration and sharing of critical information, as well as ineffective communications between scientists, decision-makers, and the affected populace.

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Communications clearly required more focus. Open image in new window. Continuing the growth in key literature on volcanic crisis communication, in , Barclay et al.

Providing valuable new insights, the article advocates the role of community-based disaster risk management CBDRM to aid effective risk communication. The article concludes with the following p.

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