LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and College of Humanities and Social Sciences Awarded $200,000 to Study Climate Hazards

August 14, 2018
Baton Rouge, LA
 – The Louisiana Sea Grant has awarded $200,000 to LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and LSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences to study how emergency managers communicate important information to coastal communities about hazardous conditions such as severe weather. Communicating Climate Tools to Coastal Communities (CCTCC) is aimed at helping emergency managers in coastal Louisiana better understand and explain to the public information from climate tools (such as the National Hurricane Center’s Cone of Uncertainty and the Storm Prediction Center’s Convective Outlook, both pictured below) about severe weather and climate hazards.

Louisiana sits at the nexus of multiple weather and climate hazards, making it one of the most vulnerable environments in the world, one that experiences hurricanes and storm surge, heavy rainfall and flooding, hail, tornadoes and damaging winds, plus dangers from rising sea levels and disappearing coastline. These trends are forecast to make Louisiana more vulnerable to future hurricanes.

“Our state’s geography means that people in coastal Louisiana need access to vital information that helps them make life-saving decisions about when to evacuate and how to prepare for severe weather events. Our work is designed to help improve communications from trusted sources such as expert emergency managers and meteorologists in both long-term and in immediate crises,” Andrea Miller, a co-investigator on the study and associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at the Manship School, said.

The project targets three goals:

  • Testing strategies for communicating information about climate tools to coastal managers.
  • Analyzing the process by which information from climate tools is used and communicated to the public.
  • Identifying effective training approaches for broadcast meteorologists and emergency managers, both of whom are on the forefront when severe weather events occur and are a trusted source of information on which the general public and government officials rely.

“As emergency managers create and update their framework for alerting the public to crises and helping their citizens cope with disasters, this valuable work will ultimately lay the foundation to promote safer, less vulnerable communities,” Renee Edwards, the principal investigator on this study and a communications studies professor in LSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said.

This research is being funded as part of Project ID R/S-06 through the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program under NOAA Award NA18OAR4170098.

National Hurricane Center’s Cone of Uncertainty

Cone of Uncertainty

The Storm Prediction Center’s Convective Outlook

Convective Outlook


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About this study’s research team:

Renee Edwards, Ph.D., is the principal investigator and a communication studies professor in LSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

Co-investigators include Barry Keim, Ph.D., professor in geography and anthropology in HSS and the Louisiana State Climatologist and Andrea Miller, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.


About the institutions involved in this research:

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant Program, a network of 33 programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states, Puerto Rico and Guam.

LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its strong emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in journalism, political communication, digital advertising and public relations, along with four graduate degree programs: master of mass communication, Ph.D. in media and public affairs, certificate of strategic communication, and dual MMC/law degree. Its public relations students were recently ranked the #1 team in the nation, and its digital advertising and student media teams frequently earn national recognition

The LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) offers a diverse range of courses, minors, and degree programs that are critical to success in today’s global market. Students, faculty, and staff are visionary leaders in their respective fields, a tradition of excellence that began with the College’s inception in 1908.