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Dr. Heather Lazrus Dr. Eve Gruntfest Warn on Forecast Kickoff Workshop Norman, OK February 18, 2010 Social Science Contributions to Warn-on-Forecast.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Heather Lazrus Dr. Eve Gruntfest Warn on Forecast Kickoff Workshop Norman, OK February 18, 2010 Social Science Contributions to Warn-on-Forecast."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Heather Lazrus Dr. Eve Gruntfest Warn on Forecast Kickoff Workshop Norman, OK February 18, 2010 Social Science Contributions to Warn-on-Forecast

2 Vision Collaborative research & partnerships between the social sciences & meteorology, climatology, & hydrology to enhance societal relevance of research & practice & reduce risks from atmospheric & other hazards Mission Creatively & sustainably weave social science concepts & methodologies into the fabric of weather & climate research & practice through academic & professional activities locally, nationally & globally SSWIM Social Science Woven into Meteorology

3 SSWIM’s three goals 1. To weave social science into the activities of the National Weather Center & elsewhere – not an “add –on” 2. To build a reputation as a center of social science research & practice in weather & climate work 3. To revolutionize the research to operations equation – so it’s no longer top-down & all partners play equal roles – decision-makers, forecasters, product designers and researchers

4 Social science - Weather and warning communication is complex and it is the domain of social scientists working in concert with those delivering the messages designed to save lives and property. Diverse disciplines Anthropology Geography Communication Psychology Political Science Economics Education Linguistics Diverse methodologies quantitative and qualitative Interviews – Structured – Semi-structured – Open interviews Surveys Direct observations Participatory activities Focus groups

5 Some social science questions… Who uses weather information? When is weather information used? Who could use weather information? What is weather information worth? How is weather information best communicated? i.e. twitter, radio, sirens, cell phones How is weather information & uncertainty understood i.e. cultural models and linguistic barriers How is trust established? How is legitimacy judged? How do people respond to weather information? How is risk perceived? How can behavior be motivated to reduce risk? What makes people vulnerable to hazards?

6 Recent Research Relevant to WoF Communicating Uncertainty in Weather Forecasts: A Survey of the U.S. Public (Morss, R.E., J. E. Demuth, and J.K. Lazo 2009) When given a deterministic temperature forecast, most respondents in a nationwide survey of the U.S. public expected the temperature to lie within a range around the predicted value. A significant majority of respondents prefered weather forecasts that expressed uncertainty.

7 Recent Research Relevant to WoF Uncertainty Forecasts Improve Decision Making Among Nonexperts (Nadav-Greenberg, L. and S. Joslyn 2010) Uncertainty can be communicated effectively to non-expert end-users, resulting in improved decision-making, especially when people are familiar with the type of information (i.e. weather forecast)

8 Recent Research Relevant to WoF Probability or Frequency? Expressing Forecast Uncertainty in Public Weather Forecasts (Joslyn, S.L., R. M. Nichols 2009) Non-expert participants in an experiment better understood wind speed forecasts when they were presented in a probability format rather than a frequency format.

9 Publics Weather Forecasters Media Emergency Mgrs & 1 st Responders 6 Developers Researchers Integrated Hazard Information Service (IHIS) Workshop: Global Systems Division, HWT, SSWIM Interviews with 8 stakeholders to learn preferences for next generation warning tools & integrating their views into workshop agenda Developing graphics for changing Research-to-Operations dynamic

10 Putting it all together: Future relationships for developing effective warnings Interactive relationships with all the hazardous weather decision makers = Changing the paradigm of hazardous weather warnings Publics Weather Forecasters Media Emergency Mgrs & 1 st Responders 6 Developers Researchers

11 N-S Space Scale E- W Time Scale 0 km 100 Km 1000 km 100 Km 1000 km 6 lead real Jan Feb 1Feb 2Feb 3 Feb 4Feb 5 First outlook issued 1 st watch issued (2pm) 2 nd watch issued (3pm ) 1 st warning issued 9pm Nashville sirens sounded 13 fatalities 44 injuries Near Lafayette, TN Awareness raised among emergency managers, and other officials Hospitals, Schools, Events? 26 tornado warnings issued 8 severe storm warnings Geographic space scales: Regional, State, Local Area (Km 2 ) 10 Km Future research is needed to fill in this timeline with a more representative sample of the decisions to be made and by whom

12 SSWIM WoF Collaboration Objectives: Address informational needs and provide appropriate decision-support for decision- makers (inc. forecasters – public) Help assure that the tools and products are developed in socially relevant ways Initial stage:- Graduate Research Assistant degree in social science discipline

13 SSWIM WoF Collaboration Very preliminary research – based on present warning paradigm (Hoekstra et al. 2010) The ideal lead-time, found to be 34.3 minutes, indicates that the general public may not need the 1-2 hours that warn on forecast would provide. When asked if there can be too much lead time, nearly 40% of the respondents stated “yes,” 23% of whom stating specifically 1-2 hours as being too much.

14 SSWIM WoF Collaboration Potential Research Questions: How can longer lead times and probabilistic information revise the present warning - response paradigm? How does the communication variables of lead time and uncertainty relate to target population variables such as age, education, gender, income, and race? What are the preferred communication mediums for different target populations?

15 SSWIM WoF Collaboration Looking forward: Feedback from partners in the room today Iterative process New/unanticipated questions Long-term and productive partnership

16 Thank you Heather Lazrus - Eve Gruntfest -


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