7.1 Consistency and Weather Communication: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on the Use of "Consistency"

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 10:30 AM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Castle Adam Williams, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and A. J. Grundstein

According to Mileti and Sorensen (1990), a warning’s ability to encourage an individual to perform a given protective action is best evaluated among the following dimensions: warning source; warning channel; the consistency, credibility, accuracy, and understandability of the message; and the warning frequency. While most of those factors have been thoroughly investigated in the context of the weather enterprise, the consistency of weather messages has become a growing concern due to the mass availability of weather information via internet and mobile-based devices. Even though several professional panels of meteorologists have attempted to tackle this intricate concept, the idea of consistency within the weather community remains a formidable hurdle and each discussion only adds more complexity to this issue. Before determining whether the current state of weather messaging is “inconsistent,” we must first define “consistency,” or more importantly, “inconsistency” in the way we portray weather information. For example, “consistency” concerns in our community range from visual discrepancies in severe weather graphics to conflicting weather warning issuance criteria across WFOs and viewing area geographies. Therefore, this presentation will explore the concept of “consistency” through several different disciplines (warning and visual communication, advertising, website design, epistemology, among others) in hopes of identifying key conceptual definitions that can assist in defining, operationalizing and measuring “consistency” in the weather enterprise.

Additionally, this presentation will provide an overview of the discussion from the consistency panel session held at the National Weather Association meeting in September and present preliminary results from the Matthew J. Parker Communication Workshop on Message Consistency held prior to the start of the conference. It is our hope that these collaborative, interactive activities, combined with an arsenal of multidisciplinary literature, will assist in defining consistency from a meteorological perspective and stimulate further research to determine the role of consistency in weather-related decision making among members of the general public.

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