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WP2: Effectively communicating probabilistic impact forecasts for severe weather conditions using cognitive and behavioural science


Image Credit: Jürgen Rossbach (MPIB) 

Despite good forecasts and warnings, people may misperceive weather risks and fail to respond appropriately. Their understanding of forecast uncertainty has long been a major concern (Joslyn and Savelli, 2010, Spiegelhalter et al., 2011); more recently, understanding weather risks and impacts has emerged as another. 

One currently advocated solution for helping people understand weather risk is to move from weather forecasts to impact forecasts; essentially, translating how the weather will be into what the weather will do (WMO, 2015). While the approach sounds promising, it remains unclear whether impact forecasts would in fact be beneficial for behaviour. 

The main goal of this work package is to develop representations for communicating impact forecasts and to test their effect on risk perception, expectations, and behaviour. Using a crowdsourcing approach, we will develop and test ways to translate impact model forecasts into a meaningful risk representation for the public. Another part of the workpackage will investigate the potential benefits of impact forecasts for emergency manager. 

Our results will shed light on the extent to which communicating impact forecasts can live up to its promise and improve our understanding of how to communicate impact forecasts to professional users and the public.