Wednesday, 17 January 2007: 4:30 PM
Use of information by National Weather Service forecasters and emergency managers during CALJET and PACJET-2001
209 (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Winter storms making landfall in western North America can generate heavy precipitation and other significant weather, leading to floods, landslides, and other hazards that cause significant damage and loss of life. To help alleviate these negative impacts, the California Land-falling Jets (CALJET) and Pacific Land-falling Jets (PACJET) Experiments took extra meteorological observations in the coastal region to investigate key research questions and aid operational West Coast 0-48 hour weather forecasting. We will discuss the results of a qualitative research study conducted during PACJET-2001 to evaluate how National Weather Service forecasters and forecast users (particularly emergency managers) used the information provided by CALJET and PACJET. The results document how forecasters used CALJET/PACJET observations to fill in key observational gaps, particularly to reduce forecast uncertainty, and how the resulting forecast information was used in emergency management decision-making. In doing so, the results elucidate the important role that forecasters play in translating forecast-related information for users and in communicating forecast uncertainty. We will also discuss policy implications of the results, including implications for future efforts to improve human-generated weather forecasts, future efforts to improve the usefulness and value of forecasts, and future evaluations of the societal benefit of meteorological field programs.