Change of Risk Perception and Risk Communication in County Cork, Ireland after Former Hurricane Ophelia (2017)


  • Ines Koensgen
  • Kieran Hickey University College Cork
  • Udo Nehren TH Köln - Univeristy of Applied Sciences



Communication towards the public about the risk of natural hazards (NHs) is important to enable community resilience and encourage autonomy in handling NHs impacts. The need for communication becomes even more crucial as NHs become more prominent due to climate change. This also includes hurricanes. Due to warmer sea surface temperatures and decreased vertical wind shear, hurricanes can undergo extratropical transition and reach northern latitudes more easily. Thus, they pose a higher threat of making landfall in Europe, especially Ireland. On the 16th of October 2017, former Hurricane Ophelia made landfall on the south coast of Ireland and caused severe disruption. This study assesses the risk perception of the people in Co. Cork towards NHs, especially hurricanes, and their satisfaction with the risk communication during Ophelia by analysing the risk communication chain, content and media and obtaining improvement suggestions in communication. It could be shown that the people of Co. Cork are not overly concerned about being affected by NHs. Still, they are aware of the risks of hurricanes. Especially after being affected by Ophelia, hurricanes are perceived as being of higher risk in the future. Overall participants are satisfied with the communication about the threats and how to behave during Ophelia. Still, improvements were suggested by the public and by experts.

Author Biographies

Kieran Hickey, University College Cork

Dr Kieran Hickey

Head of the School of the Human Environment

Director of the M.Sc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Department of Geography

University College Cork

Udo Nehren, TH Köln - Univeristy of Applied Sciences

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. | Dipl. Geographer

Ecosystem Management

Vice Dean of Faculty 12 - Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems   Institute for Technology and Resources Management
in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT)

TH Köln

University of Applied Sciences




How to Cite

Koensgen, I., Hickey, K., & Nehren, U. (2023). Change of Risk Perception and Risk Communication in County Cork, Ireland after Former Hurricane Ophelia (2017). Irish Geography, 55(2), 148–180.