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Assessing and communicating erosion risk. An interdisciplinary case study in Bangladesh and the USA
- Master Thesis
Climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of many natural hazards such as storms or fires. Governments and public officials have the duty to protect their citizens and to prevent these hazards from turning into disasters. To do so effectively, they first need a scientific assessment of the disaster risk, which they communicate to affected people in the second step. This thesis examined both steps, by assessing past events of riverbank erosion in Bangladesh using radar imagery, and by investigating how the resulting disaster risk information could aid in risk communication. I could show that analyzing radar imagery on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) can assess riverbank erosion shortly after the end of the monsoon, and hence earlier than it would be possible with optical imagery. I developed an interactive online tool allowing the user to explore where riverbank erosion has occurred along Jamuna River in the last five monsoon seasons (2015-2019). Further, the source code of this tool is made publicly available, providing an option to apply the algorithm in other geographical settings. This can be attractive for authorities in low resource settings, given that the GEE can be used free of charge. In the second part of this study, I conducted an online experiment in seven coastal US states to investigate how aerial photographs containing information on past events of coastal erosion can help to decrease framing effects inherent in disaster risk communication. I found no framing effects in a risky choice situation and a goal framing setup, casting doubt on the strength of framing effects in real world scenarios. Adding the aerial photographs to the textual description of the scenario made respondents more risk seeking and increased their stated behavioral intention to take preventive measures against coastal erosion. The overall awareness among respondents about the issue of coastal erosion was high, resulting in few risky choices and high levels of stated behavioral intentions. Further research is required on the nature of framing effects in more realistic scenarios and on how people read and interpret aerial photographs containing information on past disaster events. In addition, I will test the findings from the online survey in a large scale household survey in Bangladesh. Show more
Subjectremote sensing; risk communication; riverbank erosion; coastal erosion; interdisciplinarity
Organisational unit03446 - Bernauer, Thomas / Bernauer, Thomas
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