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DRU - Weather Forecast Uncertainty

PI: Adrian Elmes Raftery
Sponsor: DRU - Weather Forecast Uncertainty
Project Period: -
Amount: $281,053.00

Abstract

Information about weather forecast uncertainty, which has been available for some time, is rarely communicated in public forecasts, although it is theoretically beneficial to weather related decisions with important economic and safety consequences. One concern is the difficulty the general public might have in understanding such information. To date, however, very little research has investigated the psychological processes involved in understanding using weather forecast uncertainty in realistic contexts among non-expert users. In order to determine how best to communicate forecast uncertainty to the general public, their needs and information processing requirements must be first understood. This project will conduct both naturalistic and experimental research to accomplish these goals. Then we will develop new probabilistic forecasting methods for extreme events and warnings, and new methods for verifying their performance. Finally we will design and create uncertainty products that are compatible with identified user needs and cognitive requirements. These products will be based on output from the University of Washington regional ensemble system. Some of these products, which provide weather warnings for extreme events, will require the development of innovative probabilistic forecasting methods. Weather warnings for extreme events have important safety implications but there has been little attention, from either the psychological or statistical research communities, given to a probabilistic approach to these issues. Targeted research such as this, using state of the art uncertainty products among non-expert end users is virtually unique and will provide important foundational research for the study of communicating forecast uncertainty.