Social sensing a volcanic eruption: application to Kīlauea 2018
Abstract. Protecting lives and livelihoods during volcanic eruptions is the key challenge in volcanology, conducted primarily by volcano monitoring and emergency management organizations, but complicated by scarce knowledge of how communities respond in times of crisis. Social sensing is a rapidly developing practice that can be adapted for volcanology. Here we use social sensing of Twitter posts to track changes in social action and reaction throughout the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea, Hawai'i. The volume of relevant tweets explodes in early May, coincident with the beginning of the eruption; automated sentiment analysis shows a simultaneous shift towards more negative emotions. Temporal trends in topics of local Twitter conversation reveal societal actions and reflect patterns in volcanic activity, civil protection actions and socioeconomic pressures. We show how hazard and risk information is discussed and reacted to on Twitter, which helps inform our understanding of community response actions and aids situational awareness.
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