J2.3 Saying What We, As Meteorologists, Really Mean

Wednesday, 10 June 2015: 11:00 AM
304 (Raleigh Convention Center)
H. Michael Mogil, How The Weatherworks, Naples, FL; and B. G. Levine

Meteorologists get a bad rap. We often try our best to describe the weather pattern and the forecast, only to miss by the mark by a few hours or 50 miles; the result is often leads to becoming the subject of ridicule. We wish economists were subjected to the same scrutiny!

However, we meteorologists are “visible;” we are seen on the TV and punctuate the Internet. Economists remain nameless faces hidden in dark shadows.

Thus, it is incumbent on us to CLEARLY articulate any weather threat and any associated uncertainty. Nowhere did that issue rear its ugly head than during the “Blizzard of 2015” (which afflicted Boston, but only grazed New York City). The fallout from this 50-mile “bust,” has reverberated throughout the halls of meteorology ever since.

We are going to try and put this into the perspective of the public and what they heard and what they thought they heard. We'll be presenting some “easy” ways to overcome this dichotomy, while leaving behind the rush for adding even more probabilities to forecasts to express uncertainty.

We'll also explore other situations in which there was a mis-match between the wording of forecasts and various warnings / advisories. This ties in directly to the current discussions about using new terms to describe weather risks.

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