1.1 Sticky Questions and Endless Debates: Integrating Social and Behavioral Science into Meteorological Research and Practices

Monday, 11 January 2016: 1:30 PM
Room 333-334 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Zainab Ali, NOAA, Greensboro, NC; and K. E. Klockow

When meteorologists use terms during severe weather circumstances such as “Watch” or “Warning”, these expressions may be misapprehended by the general public. There is a link between social/behavioral sciences and meteorological practices. Many question the role of these meteorological applications and how the public understands them. This project carried out a systematic literature review to compare the different studies done on the public's understanding of the ‘watch/warning advisory' (WWA) system, and to see the similarity in outcomes. These reviews include over 15 different literatures and studies, ranging from 1996 to 2015. Results in these studies varied due to hazard type, survey location, and several other factors that might have resulted in certain biases. Nonetheless, survey participants were asked different types of questions; open-ended, close-ended, etc. Most results showed that the majority of people know what severe weather watches and warnings are, but the most common results showed that there is confusion between the two phrases. Findings suggest that many factors influence the WWA system, and further study is warranted to control for each of these potential affects. Improving practices and informing meteorologists and researchers of this sticky situation can be an important role played in the Weather-Ready Nation mission implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as within the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Office Oceanic & Atmospheric Research (OAR).
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