6A.3 Generating and communicating uncertainty information for high impact weather, water, and climate forecasts

Wednesday, 27 June 2007: 12:00 AM
Summit A (The Yarrow Resort Hotel and Conference Center)
Paul A. Hirschberg, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and L. Anderson, J. Sokich, Z. Toth, and A. Bleistein

Uncertainty is a fundamental characteristic of weather, water, and climate information and prediction. Societal demands for information about forecast uncertainty are increasing. According to the National Research Council (NRC) Report, Completing the Forecast. Characterizing and Communicating Uncertainty for Better Decisions Using Weather and Climate Forecasts (NRC, 2006), "… effective communication of uncertainty information in hydrometeorological forecasts benefits users' decisions." The weather enterprise, which includes private, Federal government and academic sectors, recognizes the need to meet growing user demands for uncertainty information and is looking to develop and provide products that effectively communicate uncertainty information.

Although notable exceptions exist, most current operational National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service forecast products are based on single-value deterministic predictions with no accompanying uncertainty information. Consequently, decisions and planning by users at all levels are made largely without the benefit of knowing and accounting for the inherent uncertainties of the underlying forecast.

This presentation will provide an overview of current planning at NOAA to address increasing user needs for uncertainty information and science opportunities for generating and communicating new and improved forecast uncertainty products and services, especially those related to high-impact events. We are working with the weather enterprise to develop these products and services. The process involves input from users, forecasters, behavioral and social scientists, economists, and atmospheric and hydrologic scientists.

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