liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Exploring the Role of Visualization in Climate Change Communication – an Audience Perspective
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4291-2801
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Visualiseringens roller i klimatkommunikation – ett mottagarperspektiv (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Climate change communication is a topical and relevant issue, and it is widely acknowledged that public communication about causes, impacts and action alternatives is integral to addressing the challenges of the changing climate. Climate visualization concerns the communication of climate information and data through the use of different information technologies and different modes of visual representation. In the context of climate change communication, climate visualization is highlighted as a potential way of increasing public engagement with climate change. In particular, developments within information technology have provided significant advancements that are claimed to be transformative in engaging lay audiences with issues relating to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Nevertheless, there is a lack of research exploring climate visualization from an audience perspective. This thesis addresses this gap. The overarching aim is thus to explore the role of climate visualization in climate change communication from an audience perspective, focusing specifically on how lay audiences make meaning of climate change as represented in two examples of climate visualization. In addition, the thesis discusses the potential contributions and/or limitations of climate visualization from a communication perspective.

Based on a social semiotic theoretical framework, this thesis employs focus group interviews to study participants’ meaning-making related to two cases of climate visualization: a dome theatre movie developed for Swedish high school students with the aim of encouraging reflection on climate change causes, impacts and mitigation alternatives, and a web-based tool for climate change adaptation developed to assist Nordic homeowners in adapting to the local impacts of climate change.

The results of this thesis show that climate visualization can help audiences concretize otherwise abstract aspects of climate change, and that the localized focus can make climate change appear more personally relevant and interesting for targeted audiences. Nevertheless, despite these communicative qualities, the analyses also show that participants’ interpretations are shaped by their preconceptions of climate change as a global and distant issue to be solved by other actors, such as national governments, or through international policy negotiations. Although climate visualization can enhance a sense of proximity with climate change, the localization of climate risk can also lead to participants downplaying the significance of climate impacts. In addition, despite the intentions of inducing a sense of agency in both cases of climate visualization, participants critically negotiated messages concerning their roles as individuals in mitigating or adapting to climate change, and assigned this responsibility onto other actors. These findings show that although climate visualization presents certain communicative qualities, it is not a panacea for engaging lay audiences with climate change. This also underlines the importance of considering cultural and social aspects of the communicative event when studying and developing climate visualization tools as a means of communication.

Abstract [sv]

Kommunikation kring klimatförändringar är ett aktuellt och relevant ämne, och många bedömare anser att kommunikation kring orsaker, effekter och åtgärdsalternativ är en viktig del i arbetet med att möta klimatutmaningarna. Klimatvisualisering är en process för att åskådliggöra klimatinformation och klimatdata med hjälp av olika tekniker och metoder för visuell framställning. I forskningslitteraturen om klimatkommunikation lyfts visualisering fram som ett möjligt sätt att öka allmänhetens engagemang i klimatfrågan. I synnerhet har utvecklingen inom informationsteknik lett till betydande framsteg som kan ses som omvälvande när det gäller att engagera lekmän i frågor som rör utsläppsminskningar och klimatanpassning. Det råder dock brist på forskning om klimatvisualisering ur ett mottagarperspektiv. Denna avhandling adresserar denna kunskapslucka. Det övergripande syftet är således att utforska visualiseringens roller i klimatkommunikation ur ett mottagarperspektiv, med särskilt fokus på hur lekmän tolkar innebörden av klimatförändringar så som de representeras i två exempel på klimatvisualisering. Avhandlingen behandlar även klimatvisualiseringens möjliga bidrag och/eller begränsningar ur ett kommunikationsperspektiv.

Med utgångspunkt i ett teoretiskt ramverk som inspirerats av socialsemiotiska teorier genomfördes fokusgruppsstudier för att studera deltagarnas meningsskapande i relation till två exempel på klimatvisualisering: en film som visas i en domteater, framtagen för svenska gymnasieelever med målsättningen att uppmuntra till reflektion kring klimatförändringarnas orsaker, effekter och alternativ för utsläppsminskning, samt ett webbaserat verktyg för klimatanpassning, som utvecklats för att stödja husägare i Norden att anpassa sig till klimatförändringarnas lokala effekter.

Resultaten av denna avhandling visar att klimatvisualisering kan stödja mottagarna att konkretisera annars abstrakta aspekter av klimatförändringar och att ett lokalt fokus kan få klimatförändringarna att framstå som mer personligt relevanta och intressanta för målgruppen. Dock visar analyserna även, trots dessa kommunikativa kvaliteter, att deltagarnas tolkningar formas av deras förförståelse om klimatförändringar som ett globalt och avlägset problem som ska lösas av andra aktörer, såsom nationella regeringar, eller genom internationella politiska förhandlingar. Även om klimatvisualisering kan förstärka känslan av närhet till klimatförändringar, kan lokaliseringen av klimatriskerna även leda till att deltagare tonar ned de lokala klimatriskernas betydelse. Dessutom, trots att båda fallen av klimatvisualisering avsåg att skapa en känsla av att kunna påverka, blev ansvaret för klimatåtgärder föremål för kritisk förhandling från deltagarnas sida – de förlade ansvaret för att hantera klimatutmaningarna till andra aktörer. Dessa resultat visar att klimatvisualisering visserligen har vissa kommunikativa kvaliteter, men inte är någon patentlösning för klimatkommunikation. Detta understryker även vikten av att ta hänsyn till kulturella och sociala aspekter av den kommunikativa händelsen när man studerar och utvecklar verktyg för klimatvisualisering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. , p. 115
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 744
Keywords [en]
Climate visualization; Climate change communication; Meaning; Lay audiences; Focus group interviews; Social semiotics
Keywords [sv]
Klimatvisualisering; Klimatkommunikation; Meningsskapande; Allmänheten; Fokusgruppsstudier
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147726DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-147726ISBN: 9789176852798 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-147726DiVA, id: diva2:1204420
Public defence
2018-06-08, Temcas, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-05-08 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Climate change communication: what can we learn from communication theory?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate change communication: what can we learn from communication theory?
2016 (English)In: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, ISSN 1757-7780, E-ISSN 1757-7799, Vol. 7, no 3, p. 329-344Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

 The literature on climate change communication addresses a range of issues relevant

to the communication of climate change and climate science to lay audiences

or publics. In doing so, it approaches this particular challenge from a

variety of different perspectives and theoretical frameworks. Analyzing the body

of scholarly literature on climate change communication, this article critically

reviews how communication is conceptualized in the literature and concludes

that the fi eld of climate change communication is characterized by diverging and

incompatible understandings of communication as a theoretical construct. In

some instances, communication theory appears reduced to an ‘ad hoc’  toolbox,

from which theories are randomly picked to provide studies with a fi tting framework.

Inspired by the paradigm shift from transmission to interaction within

communication theory, potential lessons from the fi eld of communication theory

are highlighted and discussed in the context of communicating climate change.

Rooted in the interaction paradigm, the article proposes a meta-theoretical

framework that conceptualizes communication as a constitutive process of producing

and reproducing shared meanings. Rather than operating in separate

ontological and epistemological perspectives, a meta-theoretical conceptualization

of communication would ensure a common platform that advances multiperspective

argumentation and discussion of the role of climate change

communication in society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2016
Keywords
Climate change communication
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126416 (URN)10.1002/wcc.392 (DOI)000374771500002 ()
Projects
NCoE NORD-STAR
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers, 36780
Note

Funding agencies: Nordic Top-Level Research Initiative through the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR)

Available from: 2016-03-23 Created: 2016-03-23 Last updated: 2018-05-08
2. Images of climate change: A pilot study of young people’s perceptions of ICT-based climate visualization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Images of climate change: A pilot study of young people’s perceptions of ICT-based climate visualization
2016 (English)In: Climatic Change, ISSN 0165-0009, E-ISSN 1573-1480, Vol. 134, no 1, p. 73-85Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change can be difficult for laypeople to make sense of, because of its complexity, the uncertainties involved and its distant impacts. Research has identified the potentials of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for visualizing and communicating climate change to lay audiences and thus addressing these communication challenges.However, little research has focused on how ICT-based visualization affects audiences’ understandings of climate change. Employing a semiotic framework and through a combination of focus group interviews and mindmap exercises, we investigated how Swedish students make sense of climate messages presented through an ICT-based visualisation medium; a dome theatre movie. The paper concludes that visualization in immersive environments works well to concretize aspects of climate change and provide a starting point for reflection, but we argue that the potential to add interactive elements should be further explored, as interaction has the potential to influence meaning-making processes. In addition, audiences’ preconceptions of climate change influence their interpretations of climate messages, which may function as a constraint to climate communication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016
Keywords
Climate change communication, meaning, semiotics, ICT-based visualization, lay audience, dome theatre
National Category
Communication Studies Human Aspects of ICT Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122796 (URN)10.1007/s10584-015-1533-9 (DOI)000367198900006 ()
Projects
Nordic Top-level Research Initiative through the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR)Vetenskapsrådet / Swedish Research Council project no. 2008-1723
Funder
Nordic Council of MinistersSwedish Research Council, 2008-1723
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council [2008-1723]; Nordic Top-level Research Initiative through the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR)

Available from: 2015-11-23 Created: 2015-11-23 Last updated: 2018-05-08
3. Visualization for supporting individual climate change adaptation planning: Assessment of a web-based tool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Visualization for supporting individual climate change adaptation planning: Assessment of a web-based tool
2017 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 158, p. 1-11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Homeowners are important actors in implementing climate change adaptation. However, individual socio-cognitive constraints related to risk perceptions and perceived capacity may hamper their action. Climate change visualization could help planning and management overcome such constraints by offering accessible information to increase individual adaptive capacity. Such visualization would require that information be perceived as legitimate and credible by emphasizing the diversity of impacts and alternative options, and simultaneously as salient by highlighting context-specific risks and measures. Based on focus group interviews and test sessions, we analysed how homeowners made sense of and discussed a specific interactive planning support tool – VisAdapt™ – integrating climate scenarios, local risk maps, and adaptation measures for various house types. The tool combines precise and general depictions in visualizing climate change to support adaptation among Nordic homeowners. Results reveal that the tool spurred reflection on concrete local risks and various adaptation actions. The tool was less successful in providing a framework for assessing the magnitude of anticipated changes, making these appear as generally small. Visualization aspects that are important for spurring reflection on adaptive action are specifying various climate parameters, relating climate impacts to established practices for managing weather risks, and emphasizing diverse concrete short- and long-term measures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Adaptation constraints, Climate change communication, Homeowners, Individual adaptive capacity, Planning, Visualization
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131829 (URN)10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.09.018 (DOI)000390076100001 ()
Projects
Nordic Center of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR)
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Available from: 2016-10-10 Created: 2016-10-10 Last updated: 2018-05-08Bibliographically approved
4. Localizing Climate Change: Nordic Homeowners' Interpretations of Visual Representations for Climate Adaptation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Localizing Climate Change: Nordic Homeowners' Interpretations of Visual Representations for Climate Adaptation
2018 (English)In: Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, ISSN 1752-4032, E-ISSN 1752-4040, no 5, p. 638-652Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent years, effort has been put into developing various forms of climate visualization to create opportunities for people to explore and learn about local climate change risks and adaptation options. However, how target audiences make sense of such climate visualization has rarely been studied from a communication perspective. This paper analyses how Nordic homeowners made sense of a specific climate visualization tool, the VisAdapt™ tool. Involving 35 homeowners from three cities in 15 group test sessions, this study analyses the interpretive strategies participants applied to make sense of and assess the relevance of the visualized data. The study demonstrates that participants employed a set of interpretive strategies relating to personal experience and well-known places to make sense of the information presented, and that critical negotiation of content played an important role in how participants interpreted the content.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018
Keywords
Climate visualization, climate adaptation, lay audiences, visual communication, meaning
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144236 (URN)10.1080/17524032.2017.1412997 (DOI)000434664100005 ()2-s2.0-85038636143 (Scopus ID)
Note

Funding agencies: Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR); Nordic Top-level Research Initiative sub-program "Effect studies and adaptation to climate change"

Available from: 2018-01-12 Created: 2018-01-12 Last updated: 2018-06-28Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Exploring the Role of Visualization in Climate Change Communication – an Audience Perspective(5408 kB)364 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 5408 kBChecksum SHA-512
eb2350dad006abcf85b2269f120b3ab0869b464af2322018dedb1ad4c10372d2ac357cdf8b1753cb3d5178f1003bcf7a19a57b19e045fae7b5d485a28d0b95f1
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf
omslag(5769 kB)31 downloads
File information
File name COVER01.pdfFile size 5769 kBChecksum SHA-512
bbcb3cde32e7fff9d943f855c6ba93dd8a20b4201fd9f09b9cccfc37c4d1510fa60bbab6dad6edd443ff60c1bbd180b755aa96150e9e324b9ae197cfa85f1f22
Type coverMimetype application/pdf
Order online >>

Other links

Publisher's full text

Authority records BETA

Ballantyne, Anne Gammelgaard

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Ballantyne, Anne Gammelgaard
By organisation
Tema Environmental ChangeCentre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPRFaculty of Arts and Sciences
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 364 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 1249 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf