Improving the NWS Forecast-at-a-Glance product through integration of social science

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Julie L. Demuth, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and D. Hilderbrand and J. K. Lazo

Weather.gov is the virtual face of the National Weather Service (NWS) and, as shown by Lazo et al. (2009), it is accessed millions of times every day. Among the more commonly accessed pages is the public forecasts page, which includes the forecast-at-a-glance icons and the 7-day text forecasts. Despite their popularity, there are deficiencies with the forecast information being provided in that the forecast icons and text products can be inconsistent, misleading, and incomplete. The National Weather Service (NWS) has begun a project in partnership with the NCAR Societal Impacts Program (SIP) to improve the communication of expected forecast conditions, possibly including provision of forecast uncertainty information more explicitly. SIP will work in close collaboration with the NWS to (1) characterize the key limitations of the forecast information being provided; (2) employ social science research methods to assess users' needs for, uses for, interpretations of, and preferences for the forecast information; and (3) ensure relevancy, applicability, and implementation of the research results. This poster presentation will a provide a synthesis of the first phase of this project and an update of subsequent efforts.

Lazo, J.K., R.E. Morss, and J.L. Demuth, 2009: 300 billion served: Sources, perceptions, uses, and values of weather forecasts. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 785-798.