A mental models study of hurricane forecast and warning production, communication, and decision-making

AMS Citation:
Bostrom, A., R. E. Morss, J. K. Lazo, J. Demuth, H. Lazrus, and R. Hudson, 2016: A mental models study of hurricane forecast and warning production, communication, and decision-making. Weather, Climate, and Society, 8, 111-129, doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0033.1.
Date:2016-04-01
Resource Type:article
Title:A mental models study of hurricane forecast and warning production, communication, and decision-making
Abstract: The study reported here explores how to enhance the public value of hurricane forecast and warning information by examining the entire warning process. A mental models research approach is applied to address three risk management tasks critical to warnings for extreme weather events: 1) understanding the risk decision and action context for hurricane warnings, 2) understanding the commonalities and conflicts in interpretations of that context and associated risks, and 3) exploring the practical implications of these insights for hurricane risk communication and management. To understand the risk decision and action context, the study develops a decision-focused model of the hurricane forecast and warning system on the basis of results from individual mental models interviews with forecasters from the National Hurricane Center (n = 4) and the Miami--South Florida Weather Forecast Office (n = 4), media broadcasters (n = 5), and public officials (n = 6), as well as a group decision-modeling session with a subset of the forecasters. Comparisons across professionals reveal numerous shared perceptions, as well as some critical differences. Implications for improving extreme weather event forecast and warning systems and risk communication are threefold: 1) promote thinking about forecast and warning decisions as a system, with informal as well as formal elements; 2) evaluate, coordinate, and consider controlling the proliferation of forecast and warning information products; and 3) further examine the interpretation and representation of uncertainty within the hurricane forecast and warning system as well as for users.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2016 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or amspubs@ametsoc.org. Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7sb47bm
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0033.1
Author(s):
  • Ann Bostrom
  • Rebecca Morss - NCAR/UCAR
  • Jeffrey Lazo - NCAR/UCAR
  • Julie Demuth - NCAR/UCAR
  • Heather Lazrus - NCAR/UCAR
  • Rebecca Hudson
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