EMS Annual Meeting Abstracts
Vol. 18, EMS2021-103, 2021
EMS Annual Meeting 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Visual climate change communication: key points for public engagement 

Rosmarie de Wit1, Annemarie Lexer1, Matthias Themessl1, and Andrea Prutsch2
Rosmarie de Wit et al.
  • 1Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), Vienna, Austria (rosmarie.dewit@zamg.ac.at)
  • 2Umweltbundesamt (UBA), Vienna, Austria

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ and ‘seeing is believing’. Clearly, images are considered to be incredibly powerful communication tools. The project ‚Images of Change’, which is funded by the Austrian Climate Research Program, wants to harness the power of visuals in climate change communication. To do so, the project focusses at developing different visual communication formats aimed at young adults, with the goal to support a better understanding of facts and invite climate friendly behavior as well as policy acceptance. In order to hit the ground running, existing (visual) climate change communication formats of different national meteorological and environmental organizations, academia, the media as well as non- governmental organizations (NGOs) were collected, analyzed and compared to best practices as reported in climate communication research. Here, we will present an overview of the key findings from psychological as well as communication research on how to successfully communicate the causes, impacts and solutions of climate change to non-scientists. Specifics on how to engage young adults as well as how to implement visuals in climate change communication in order to achieve the highest impact and increase the motivation to act in a climate friendly manner will also be highlighted. Finally, a selection of existing visual communication campaigns will be presented and discussed. Based on these formats, we will take a deeper look into how the best practice guidelines postulated by the communication science community may be implemented in our own work as climate communicators in academia as well as national weather services.

How to cite: de Wit, R., Lexer, A., Themessl, M., and Prutsch, A.: Visual climate change communication: key points for public engagement , EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-103, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2021-103, 2021.

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