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Using Weather and Stream Data Animations to Increase Public Awareness About Factors Affecting Lake Superior

Project Summary

As many in the news business know, people are weather watchers. Researchers will capitalize on society's interest in meteorology to test whether television broadcast meteorologists can enhance their viewers' understanding of stormwater runoff and the ways it can damage water quality. Working with Northland's News Center (KBJR-TV3 and 6) and the Regional Stormwater Protection Team in Duluth, the researchers will create state-of-the-art visualizations to integrate real-time stream data and water quality information into local weather reports. They will also combine data imaging and mapping tools to develop vignettes ("data stories") to explain how the amount, type, and timing of precipitation influences water quality and quantity, and relate these to news stories about stormwater overflows, pollution, flooding, and climate change.

The vignettes will be made available to news stations serving the Lake Superior Basin, on news Web sites, and on LakeSuperiorStreams.org. The researchers will evaluate the success of these new materials, and ascertain if television and Internet-based audiences gained a better appreciation and understanding of the role water plays in the environment.

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