With a long history of communication - including time spent in TV broadcasting, science and weather writing (blogging, magazine articles, and trade books), teaching, and more - I am always on the lookout for both good and bad examples of weather (and other discipline) communication. I have also earned communication certifications from both the AMS (CCM and CBM) and the NWA (Digital Media Seal).
During the teaching of our Southwest Florida Weather Camps (Summer 2017), we conducted an experiment in probability and quickly realized the inherent problems associated with using probabilities in weather forecasting. Meteorologists’ use of probabilities is predicated on strong science and math fundamentals to convey uncertainties to a U.S. population that is very unskilled in understanding science and math. This mismatch fuels the negative comments that have been thrust upon us by many in the public sphere who use weather information each day. It could be likened to fitting a square peg into a smaller, round hole.
We’ll use our camp experimentation and other frameworks to showcase this situation to conference attendees. Then, we’ll work to start a dialogue on ways to remedy the communication disconnect, in both broadcast and NWS circles.