32nd Conference on Broadcast Meteorology/31st Conference on Radar Meteorology/Fifth Conference on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes

Monday, 11 August 2003: 3:40 PM
Helping broadcast meteorologists understand and communicate probabilistic forecasts
Holly C. Hartmann, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Broadcast meteorologists face a difficult situation in trying to convey the complex information contained in CPC seasonal climate outlooks in simple terms that can be grasped quickly by people without technical training. However, our national investment in climate science can’t provide full benefits when people misunderstand the outlooks, and may even lead to detrimental results if the forecasts are misapplied. This presentation will further the broadcast meteorologists' understanding of CPC outlooks and present ideas for demonstrating climate forecasts to their audience.

This presentation will be an interactive, hands-on lesson about the terminology and concepts used in the CPC climate outlooks. Using fun and memorable visual aids that have been developed with feedback from decision makers, we will confront concepts that complicate communication of the forecasts, including climatology, probability, uncertainty, and forecast skill. We will also address confusing jargon, such as ‘tercile’ and ‘normal’, and philosophical issues, such as appropriate historical reference periods and handling situations when forecasts are indeterminate.

Participants will also learn about a computer tool (http://hydis6.hwr.arizona.edu/ForecastEvaluationTool/) available for broadcast meteorologists to (1) test their forecast interpretation skills, (2) efficiently monitor the time evolution of the climate outlooks and subsequent observations, (3) place the forecasts in the context of recent and historical observations, and (4) track the performance of the CPC outlooks for their own region.

Supplementary URL: