5B.1 Expert Mental Modeling of the Weather Forecast System

Monday, 1 August 2005: 4:45 PM
Empire Ballroom (Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington D.C.)
Jeffrey K. Lazo, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and A. Zia and R. E. Morss

Understanding the socio-economic impacts of weather forecasting requires understanding how weather information is created, communicated, and used. Different members of the weather forecasting community and its stakeholders consider the weather forecast system from different perspectives, using different language and concepts to describe its structure and functions. To help different groups build common understanding, this paper employs the expert mental modeling technique to arrive at a consensus expert influence diagram depicting major components of the Weather Forecast System (WFS). Mental modeling is the art and science of understanding people's concepts and thinking in a particular domain – in this case how meteorologists conceive of the structure, function, and interrelationships of the WFS. First, influence diagrams are elicited from research meteorologists using mental modeling interview methods. Next, a consensus expert influence diagram is developed by identifying and combining common elements and relationships from the individual interviews. The resulting diagram is used to discuss how information is generated and flows through the WFS. We then show how this diagram can provide a framework for discussing issues of interest to the weather forecasting community.
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