Communication and media


Communication and media
Including EMS Outreach & Communication Award
Convener: Tanja Cegnar
| Mon, 06 Sep, 09:00–11:45 (CEST)

Session assets

Presentations: Mon, 6 Sep

Chairperson: Tanja Cegnar
Brian Southwell, Deanna Corin, Montana Eck, Angela Hessenius, Leslie Li, Audrey Magnuson, Joanna Parkman, Rebecca Sauer, Callie Turner, and Shane Stansbury

To understand where people turn for information regarding natural disasters, hazards, and extreme weather, we surveyed residents of Ashe, Watauga, and Rockingham counties in North Carolina (n = 79). Respondents ranged from 27 years old to 87 years old. Approximately 22% (17/79) reported some college or less. We found general preference for local sources. Most respondents were open to signing up for a phone or text alert service regarding air quality but were more likely to sign up for a local service than for one offered by a federal organization, e.g., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, t = 2.4, p < .05. Those with less education were more likely to sign up for a local phone or text service than counterparts, standardized beta = - .32, p < .01, in an ordinary least squares regression with age and education as predictors. The most cited sources of information on natural disasters, hazards, or extreme weather in terms of frequent or very frequent engagement were primarily local: local online sources, local television news, a local newspaper, neighbors or family members (through face-to-face or phone conversations), and social media. Sources that were most often cited as being trusted almost completely or completely also were largely local. We asked a subset of respondents (n = 62) to define trust in their own words and found their conceptualizations of trust to be multidimensional. Three coders established intercoder reliability (Krippendorff’s alpha > .70) in coding potential dimensions of trust in the definitions: trust as perceived source competency, as perceived consistency by the source, or as encapsulated interest (or as a source acknowledging one’s own interest). Respondents harbored different visions of trust: 84% (52/62) defined trust in terms of competency, 23% (14/62) defined trust in terms of consistency, and 47% (29/62) defined trust in terms of encapsulated interest. Those who defined trust in terms of encapsulated interest differed from those who did not in seeking information about natural disasters, hazards, or extreme weather from a local health organization, t = -2.1, p < .05, from state government, t = -2.1, p < .05, from a local nonprofit, t = -2.3, p < .05, from a local college or university, t = -2.0, p < .05, and from local TV news, t = 2.2, p < .05. (They were more likely to turn to a local health organization, local nonprofit, state government, or local college or university and less likely to turn to local TV news.) Results suggest warning and preparation communication efforts should partner with local organizations as message sources and highlight shared values and interests with audiences.

How to cite: Southwell, B., Corin, D., Eck, M., Hessenius, A., Li, L., Magnuson, A., Parkman, J., Sauer, R., Turner, C., and Stansbury, S.: Dimensions of trust and information seeking on natural disasters, hazards, and extreme weather in North Carolina (USA), EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-25,, 2021.

Santiago Gaztelumendi

Although social media industry is now a very congested Marketplace, Twitter continues to maintain its status as a popular social media platform. There are 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users on Twitter sending more than 6,000 tweets every second in the world. In Spain case 85% population are social media users, with around 5 million tweeter profiles for a population around 47 million. In the autonomous community of Basque country (2.17 million inhabitants) around 20% of citizens use Twitter.

Twitter is a social tool that enables users to post messages (tweets) of up to 280 characters supporting a wide variety of social communication practices including photo and video attach. The Basque Meteorology Agency @Euskalmet with more than 115,3 K followers is one of the most popular accounts in Basque Country. Twitter is not only an opportunity to instantaneous spread messages to people without intermediaries, but also as a potential platform for valuable data acquisition using tweeter API capabilities. In this contribution, we present a study of different aspects related to the operational use of Twitter data in the context of high impact weather scenarios at local level.

The most important activity in Euskalmet are actions in severe weather events. Before the event, mainly centered in forecast and communication, during the event in nowcast, surveillance and impact monitoring and after the event in post-event analysis. During all these complex processes real time tweets posted by local users offer a huge amount of data that conveniently processed could be useful for different purposes. For operational staff, working at office during severe weather episodes, is critical to understand the local effects that an adverse phenomenon is causing and the correct perception of the extent of impact and social alarm. For this purposes, among others, different information associated with posted tweets can be extracted and exploited conveniently. In this work, we present some results that demonstrate how different data mining and advances analytics techniques can be used in order to include social media data information for different tasks and particularly during high impact weather events.

In this paper we summarize our experience during a proof of concept project for automatic real time tweeter analysis and the development of an operational tool for tweeter API data exploitation in the Basque Country. We present the main challenges and problems that we have had to face, including how to deal with the lack of geolocation information, since in the case of the Basque country, as in other parts of the world, tweets containing geotags are the exception, not the rule.

How to cite: Gaztelumendi, S.: Towards the operational use of tweets data in high impact weather scenarios: data mining and analytics in Basque Country., EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-245,, 2021.

Nathalie Popovic, Julia Asseburg, and Sebastian Weber

Weather warnings serve the purpose of informing the public about potentially dangerous weather events so that they can take precautionary measures to avoid harm and damages. However, weather warning are often not user-oriented, which leads to poor understanding and low compliance rate. Moreover, warnings are often received during daily activities when the decision whether to respond to the warning might be taken within only a few seconds. The present study focuses on the question, which elements of a warning message are the most important to influence the spontaneous reaction to the warning and the intention to take action.

In a factorial survey experiment with 2000 Swiss citizen, we tested the influence of different elements of a warning message on people’s spontaneous appraisal of the warning and their intended behavioural change. The elements of the warning message we tested for were physical values (e.g. amount of rain in mm.), impact information, behavioural recommendations, warning level and labels for the severity of the event (e.g. “very severe”). We used an implicit association test to measure spontaneous appraisal of the warning message with respect to understanding, trust, risk perception and personal relevance. After the implicit association test, participants explicitly answered whether they would change their behaviour in response to the warning.

The experimental setup allows us to test for causal relations between the different elements of the warning message and the spontaneous reaction and intended behavioural response. Measuring the implicit associations provides us with a better understanding of the first reactions triggered by the warning elements and how that impacts intended behavior.

Our results (available by the end of April) will shed light on the question which information is the most important to serve as a wake-up call – a question that becomes even more relevant as warnings are increasingly transmitted via push-notifications on mobile phones. At the same time, our study provides a further insight into the cognitive process that underlies the decision to take protective actions.

How to cite: Popovic, N., Asseburg, J., and Weber, S.: How do different elements of a warning message influence spontaneous reaction to the warning and intended behavioural change? A factorial survey experiment, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-102,, 2021.

Veronika Hladnik Zakotnik

In June 2018 at Slovenian Environmental Agency (ARSO) the internal project SPOMIN was started. In Slovenia, weather forecasters have only one operational shift per day, which lasts 12 hours, and only one weather forecaster is mostly responsible for general forecasts for the entire country. Dedicated forecasts for special users are fragmented and delegated to teams across the Agency; in most cases there is only one person responsible for each specific topic, and some forecasts for specific activities are not even produced, for example for leisure activities, skiing, surfing, etc. Therefore, the aim of SPOMIN project was to harmonize operational meteorological information and forecasts and collect their production in one team.

For the SPOMIN proposes, we issued a questionnaire addressed to our users and received more than 1000 answers, many of them were descriptive. Many of our users are familiar with our special products for users, but they are missing additional graphic representation or explanatory text or more details related to their activity. There are also some of users who are unaware of our products as they are not easy to find on our websites. Our users know what kind of information and forecasts they are missing, and they provided us with a lot of ideas how to improve our products and which new products should we develop in future. Thus, the project team suggested some new products and upgrade of existing ones. While the project was finished in 2020, the conclusions and results were conveyed to the newly formed team for specific forecasts.

At present, we are not able to enrich the content of our web site with new kinds of information, because the web site is currently under renovation. To overcome this situation, we have started adding more information to the social network where we have over 20,000 followers, recording podcasts with highly relevant topics, producing lots of interesting infographics, and so on. Our plans for the future include production of videos with forecasts and meteorological educational content. Of course, we will upgrade and implement the ideas developed in SPOMIN project and integrate them on our new website which will be much more user oriented as it is the current one.

Selected examples of tailored information for users published on our social media will be presented.


How to cite: Hladnik Zakotnik, V.: Tailoring weather information for specific users, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-67,, 2021.

EMS Outreach & Communication Award
Anders Doksæter Sivle, Anniken Celine Berger, Mai-Linn Finstad Svehagen, Hans Olav Hygen, and Jelmer Jeuring

User surveys indicate that the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway) enjoys a very high level of trust in the Norwegian population, being the state agency with the best reputation in Norway 15 years in a row. In our latest annual polling close to 85 percent say they have a high degree of trust in our climate research, while 82 percent have a high degree of trust in our TV meteorologists as climate change communicators. The combined climate science and communication expertise within MET Norway can capitalize on these high levels of trust to advance climate communication for Norwegian society. This is the backdrop for the project TV meteorologists as climate communicators initiated in spring 2019, inspired by similar projects in other countries, especially Climate Matters in the USA.

MET Norway supplies meteorologists to forecast the weather at NRK, the Norwegian national public broadcaster. The TV-meteorologist's assets is that they use language that people understand, and that they can talk about climate change from a local point of view and in relation to the weather situation at a given time. The main objective of this project was therefore to regularly include climate information in the weather forecasts on NRK radio and television. 

In 2019 and 2020 we had 40 stories in the weather forecasts on NRK television. Most of the stories have been related to temperature changes, but also about Arctic sea-ice, flash-floods, and changes in snow cover. The TV-meteorologists involved in the project report that they mainly get positive feedback from the audience. The majority of the stories have also been shared through social media and through press releases to reach other audiences than those that watch TV. Most of these stories have been shared (e.g. retweeted) by multiple users, and we estimate a reach of about 20 percent of Norway's population as realistic.

The TV-meteorologists have also received training in both climate research and climate communication on a monthly basis since the project started. After the project ended in december 2020, 40 percent of the TV-meteorologists said that they feel more comfortable to communicate climate information than before the project started. 

The project is now operationalized in a climate editorial desk on MET, consisting of several climate researchers, TV-meteorologists and communication advisors that meets on a weekly basis. 

How to cite: Sivle, A. D., Berger, A. C., Svehagen, M.-L. F., Hygen, H. O., and Jeuring, J.: The benefits of using TV-meteorologists as climate change communicators, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-130,, 2021.

What can we learn from weather apps user complaints?
Raquel Lorente Plazas, Marcos Molina, Juan Sanchez, Laura Palacion-Peña, and Guillermo Ballester
Stanislava Tsalova

People who are not involved in doing Weather forecast presentations, think that it is something easy to prepare. But it needs experience to present the weather data and forecast, which is scientific information in a way understandable for the TV viewers. Weather forecasts have always been islands of positive emotions in TV programs. 

The past year was very challeging for all TV stations around the world. In all the news and TV shows the main topic was Coronavirus disease. Now, more than ever TV weather forecast's role became to provide some positive emotions to the people who are so much got tired of the bad and scary news on their TVs. The fact is that during the pandemic the TV ratings are higher made our responsibility even bigger.

While preparing my weather presentations, even in cases of severe weather my top priority was not to scare people, who were scared enough. When showing weather videos, I avoided such with disasters. Instead I showed more wildlife and educational weather videos. Unlike before, in 2020/2021 years I definitely avoided climate change topic. 

While chatting about weather on air with the news and morning shows anchors, the chat had sometimes escalated to bursting into laughter. Unlike before, our viewers approved that highly, because everybody is under pressure now and such stress release things were more than welcome. The weather forecast now became more than ever an island of calmness and hope for a better tomorrow in the rough TV sea.

I want to share my experience and to exchange opinion on that topic with collegues from other countries and TV stations.

How to cite: Tsalova, S.: Weather forecasts - the islands of calmness in the rough TV sea, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-407,, 2021.

Chairperson: Tanja Cegnar
Zoltán Üveges

At the Hungarian Meteorological Service, three years ago we established a media meteorology group of forecasters with my lead. Our main goal is presenting the latest weather forecasts, interpreting weather related news and informative articles on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. One of our most popular types of forecasts – which was the topic of the award - is the daily weather forecast short video. What makes it quite different from and more authentic than a usual TV forecast is that our team members are forecasters, content editors and weather presenters in one person. Besides being the head of the group, I am also responsible for creating and designing the visual content.

We believe that forecasts have to be presented in the most simple language. However, weather related questions rarely can be answered with a simple yes or no. That is when probability forecasts come in handy. Presenting plume diagrams, probability maps help us smoothen the expectations of the public. With probabilities, we can speak of the medium range outlook on state of the art scientific basis, we don’t have to tell one single value for the 6th or 7th day maximum temperature and later receive the negative comments. I think it is important not to feel shame to say „we don’t know exactly” the details of the expected weather. Nowadays, communication of uncertainties is one of the main objectives of forecasters, and this sometimes requires that ungrateful task, too.

In our experience weather forecasts appearing indirectly in the media or press fail to contain uncertainties, information is usually transformed and mostly the worst case scenario is the only one which is presented. In order to avoid it, we try to reach the public directly via social media platforms and try to produce content with eye-catching headlines that is ready to use for the media.

The European Meteorological Society Media Weather Forecast Award gave us good feedback that we are on the right way of presenting weather, communicating probabilities in a scientific but understandable form for the public.

How to cite: Üveges, Z.: Weather forecast on social media platforms, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-414,, 2021.

Rasmus Benestad

The blog was launched December 2004, and one interesting question is what came out of our involvement with climate blogging. The times have changed for sure between 2004 and 2020, with a completely level of public awareness of climate change and political landscape that was barely conceivable then. My personal involvement in brought exposure but also an opportunity to learn about what questions that people outside the scientific community had. This also had an impact on my production of scientific papers, and six scientific papers originated from ideas and the engagement connected to Some of these papers have resulted in various appearances in the media, from a report in Scientific American to TV documentary.

My involvement at RealClimate has earned me both acknowledgement and enemies. Climate science was a contentious issue within the political sphere already when we started blogging, something we quickly learned through the comments on our posts. One question we discussed was how to deal with comments. We decided to moderate them fairly strictly in the start, which set the culture. All spam and ad hominem was banned. We also decided to deal with trolls was to set up a page called "The Bore Hole", where we could move false information and troll-like comments. The readers appreciated the platform as a place for discussion, so at a later stage, we established monthly threads with the title 'Unforced variations'.

Today, we may ask what difference did RealClimate make and what would the world look like without such blogs where scientists reach out.

How to cite: Benestad, R.: Experience from the blog and lessons learned, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-411,, 2021.

Žiga Zaplotnik, Lina Boljka, Nina Črnivec, and Aljoša Slameršak

The project RESCCCUE aims at addressing the climate change action in Slovenia. We started the project in the autumn of 2019 when we have brought together over 100 leading Slovenian scientists, comprising meteorologists, climatologists, oceanographers, physicists, biologists, chemists, geographers, and others. Together we wrote an open letter to the Slovenian government: “A request of Slovenian researchers to take immediate action on improving the climate change mitigation and adaptation policy”. The open letter received extensive media coverage, as well as provoked a reaction from the political authorities and served as a kick-off for various subsequent climate change communication activities. We therefore continued with multiple media outreach and communication events, both jointly as a team and individually. This included appearances on the radio and television, interviews for newspapers and magazines, social media platforms, and popular scientific talks. We have thereby demonstrated that values such as a team spirit, mutual help and collaboration are crucial for far-reaching actions. All in all, the project strives to advance climate literacy and science-based policy making in Slovenia. Additionally, we also promote research in meteorology and climatology to the Slovenian youth (public talks for schools, summer schools, seminars). Although the project has already proved successful in igniting nationwide debate on  climate mitigation, RESCCCUE is a continuing, ongoing project. We are currently establishing an online platform called “Podnebnik” that will track climate action in Slovenia and allow an exchange of science-based views on climate change mitigation and adaptation. To do this, we have established connections with data scientists behind the very successful Slovenian Covid-19 tracker “Sledilnik” (, and many other Slovenian agencies from the relevant fields, as well as other Slovenian scientists from across the globe. We firmly believe that this platform will help decision makers and the general public to understand the diversity of the climate change challenge and take meaningful climate action. Throughout the project we have developed valuable skills and experience in scientific communication. We hope that our project will inspire more scientists to engage in communication of climate change science and in debates on societal impacts of climate change.

How to cite: Zaplotnik, Ž., Boljka, L., Črnivec, N., and Slameršak, A.: Project RESCCCUE: “REminding Slovenian authorities Climate Change Crisis requires Urgent Effort”, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-416,, 2021.

Pamela Emch

The Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology is awarded every two years at the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society.  This prize, financed by an endowment created by Harry Otten, the founder of MeteoGroup, is oriented towards supporting individuals and small teams that might otherwise find it difficult to secure funding that can help them move their innovative, practical concept on a path towards implementation.  The process of running the competition for the prize, and of selecting the finalists and the ultimate winner, utilizes a variety of communication methods.  This presentation will provide a summary of the process for the Harry Otten Prize competition, focusing in particular on associated aspects of communication.

How to cite: Emch, P.: Communicating About Ideas for Innovation in Meteorology:  The Harry Otten Prize, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-218,, 2021.

Tanja Cegnar

Due to pandemics many of our plans were corrupted and changed. The previously planned in-person events had to be carried out virtually.

Since established, the EMS Media Awards were presented live during the EMS Annual Meeting.  Everybody appreciated the opportunity for networking, informal questions and sharing of detailed backstage information.

Due to pandemic the EMS Annual Meeting in 2020 was cancelled and with this also the opportunity to present the awardees live vanished. This was a huge disappointment for the awardees. To overcome this drawback the Media and Communication Committee decided to organize a virtual media awards ceremony. Although we felt a bit uneasy at the beginning, a very positive response of all awardees encouraged us. With no previous experience in virtual awards ceremonies we compiled a scenario and gave instructions to awardees how to prepare their intervention in an appealing and sometimes entertaining way. We would be happy to share how the project developed and which technical problems we encountered.

How to cite: Cegnar, T.: Compiling a virtual awards ceremony, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-418,, 2021.


  • Conor Purcell, Press, Ireland

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