Dissertation Title and Summary

An Interdisciplinary Examination of Decision Making During Extreme Weather

The United States government has made large investments to improve the prediction and accuracy of weather forecasting, especially for severe and extreme weather events. While these investments have successfully improved the accuracy of weather forecasting, additional investments must be made to effectively communicate risks and improved forecasting knowledge to reduce loss of life and property. 

My dissertation ties together research, knowledge and methodologies from social-behavioral sciences like sociology, psychology, and communications, with weather forecasting to investigate how different types of forecast messages may influence decision making during natural disasters. This dissertation specifically investigates how the public responds to probabilistic forecasts and aims to discover which types of weather forecasts messages cater to the broadest portion of our population.


Shadya Sanders is a doctoral candidate in Howard University’s Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS). She received her Bachelor of Science from Purdue University in 2011 with an interdisciplinary degree in Atmospheric Sciences and Anthropology and a minor in Spanish. Shadya’s research investigates how different groups of people perceive weather-related risks, climate change knowledge, and actions to protect themselves from natural disasters.  Her research interests include extreme weather, climate change, perceptions of risk, and science communication. Shadya is currently a science writer and data analyst in Rockville, Maryland.