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Roles of Social Science Research and Weather Impacts Julie Demuth IWT Workshop: Using the WAS*IS Approach January 22, 2009 IWT Workshop: Using the WAS*IS.

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Presentation on theme: "Roles of Social Science Research and Weather Impacts Julie Demuth IWT Workshop: Using the WAS*IS Approach January 22, 2009 IWT Workshop: Using the WAS*IS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Roles of Social Science Research and Weather Impacts Julie Demuth IWT Workshop: Using the WAS*IS Approach January 22, 2009 IWT Workshop: Using the WAS*IS Approach January 22, 2009 Eve Gruntfest

2 The weather community and its partners are always looking to provide better information in better ways to better serve the range of users of forecast and warning information............ It’s why we’re all here! What we know

3 What we don’t know There’s little good, reliable, valid data-based knowledge about… – …people’s attitudes and behaviors regarding weather forecast information (including uncertainty!) – …what IWT members know about people’s attitudes and behaviors and what they themselves think – …how IWT members can and should work together better!

4 We’re all well intentioned! We have LOTS anecdotal information … and preconceived notions! We have LOTS of questions! What can we and can’t we generalize?? People gamble for money, on sports, etc. They definitely understand and want odds. No one understands the difference between a watch and warning. OR… I spoke to a nursing home and everyone there knows the difference between a watch and a warning. False alarms are bad. People don’t trust us. Does it really matter if we improve our Day 7 forecast by 1 degree? Warnings are a dime a dozen.

5 Working on the puzzle Need to develop a clearer picture of the public arena of weather forecasting – People’s sources, perceptions, interpretations, decision-making, uses, roles of various experiences, roles of weather versus other factors, etc. Pieces of the puzzle! We face moving targets! We ALL have so much to learn … from members of the public and from each other!

6 Moving forward… Tremendous amount of knowledge — concepts, methodologies, theories, tools — from the social sciences that can and should be integrated in partnership with meteorology! – Such as communication, sociology, psychology, economics, decision science, geography, anthropology – We ALL have important roles to play! Provide effective forecast and warning information people actually want and use rather than what we think they do (or should) want and use

7 @ The National Weather Center @ The National Weather Center SSWIM Team University of Oklahoma SSWIM Team University of Oklahoma Sponsored by University of Oklahoma & National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

8 Funds ~50% NOAA & 50% U of Oklahoma Three main goals To weave social science into the activities of the National Weather Center & elsewhere To earn a reputation as the center of social science research & practice in weather & climate work in Norman, in the U.S. & internationally To reflect & actualize the NOAA vision “to make the best social & economic decisions” & mission “to meet our Nation’s economic, social, & environmental needs.” Weaving Social Science into Climate & Weather Research & Practice

9 Social Science Woven Into Meteorology strategies To focus on end-to-end-to-end processes that emphasize grass roots rather than top down means to weave in social science To build NOAA’s social science capacity related to weather & hazards building upon sustained social science participation in fisheries & climate work To participate in bold large & small research projects to build-in social science components & set the stage for natural inclusion of social scientists in ongoing & future work in meteorology & climatology Weaving Social Science into Climate & Weather Research & Practice

10 NCAR Societal Impacts Program (SIP) …to improve the societal gains from weather forecasting by infusing social science research, methods, and capabilities into the planning, execution, and analysis of weather information, applications, and research directions. 4 focal areas – community development & support – Information resources – primary research – Weather and Society * Integrated Studies (WAS*IS)

11 Examples of Societal Impacts Program research Sources, perceptions, uses, and value of weather forecasts Communicating uncertainty in weather forecasts Broadcast meteorologists’ preferences for conveying uncertainty and perceptions of public’s needs and wants Examining warning decisions in extreme weather events

12 Examples of SIP research Overall U.S. economic sector sensitivity assessment Assessing the transportation sector’s use and value of weather information Examining the hurricane warning system: Content, channels, and comprehension Super Tuesday tornado outbreak assessment

13 A vision for the future There are challenges but opportunities! Need vision, optimism, ideas, entrepreneurs to pave the way forward Need commitment of people, support, resources Need to think long term and big … not going to find 1 solution or find solutions immediately Social science is scientific — a HARD science — and it’s all a process of learning and discovery

14 The essentials Partnerships among practitioners, broadcast meteorologists, research meteorologists, operational meteorologists, social scientists, policy makers, government officials … LOCAL and FEDERAL Interest and willingness to work together, to listen, learn, exchange ideas … END-TO-END-TO-END! PASSION for this work, for changing the ways we do business … to save lives and property! This workshop is a great step in the right direction … more to follow today!


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