88th Annual Meeting (20-24 January 2008)

Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Sources, perceptions, values, and confidence in weather information: Relationships with weather salience
Exhibit Hall B (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Alan E. Stewart, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA
This project provides an update on the most recent research that has been conducted with the Weather Salience Questionnaire (WxSQ) as it was used in the Communication of Forecast Uncertainty Project in a random sample of over 1500 households in the United States. The WxSQ is a measure of the extent to which people find weather and climate to be of significance or importance. The WxSQ possesses seven subscales among 29 items that reflect different but related domains in which people attach importance to weather and climate: 1. Seeking weather/climate information from multiple media and electronic sources; 2. Observing and noting atmospheric conditions directly (i. e., in person); 3. Effects of weather (and changes in the weather) on mood state; 4. Psychological attachment to particular weather/climate conditions; 5. Need to observe or experience changes/variety in weather and climate; 6. Seeking weather information during the possibility of a weather-related holiday; and 7. Effects of weather (and weather changes) on activities of daily life (e. g., work, travel). A seven-item short form of the WxSQ exists.

The present project will examine the reliability and performance of the WxSQ in assessing a more diverse sample of US residents. Beyond this measurement-related information, this project will examine and discuss the relationships of weather salience (and its facets/subscales) with the following variables that pertain to the sources, perceptions, and values of weather information and confidence in forecasts:

1. The frequency of obtaining weather information from various media sources

2. The frequency of obtaining weather information for various geographic areas

3. The times during the day in which people obtain weather information

4. The frequency with which people obtain weather information to advise them about various daily activities.

5. People's preferences for obtaining various kinds of weather information (e.g. about winds, humidity, precipitation)

6. The confidence people have in weather forecasts over varying timeframes (from 1 to 14 days).

7. The dollar valuation people place on weather information.

The results will be discussed in terms of their implications for broader efforts to understand how people incorporate uncertainty in weather-related decision-making. The major implication of the present project is that the degree of psychological significance that people attach to weather and climate, an individual-level variable, is related to cognitive and behavioral processes involved in dealing with weather forecast information, including uncertainty information.

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