Science and Technology Seminar


NCAR Societal Impacts Program (SIP) Research Integrating Social Science and Meteorology


Jeffrey K. Lazo, Rebecca E. Morss, and Julie L. Demuth


National Center for Atmospheric Research


The NCAR Societal Impacts Program ( was created in 2004 and is funded by NCAR and NOAA‘s U.S. Weather Research Program. The goal of SIP is to improve the societal gains from weather forecasting by infusing social science and economic research, methods, and capabilities into the planning, execution, and analysis of weather information, applications, and research directions.


We will begin with a brief overview of SIP and results from a few recent and current research efforts with emphasis on those of direct relevance to the National Weather Service. This overview will include projects on the public’s sources, perceptions, uses, and values for weather forecast information; the public’s and broadcast meteorologists’ interpretations of, use of, and preferences for weather forecast uncertainty information; estimates of weather-related damage in Storm Data; and support for NWS Service Assessments, including the Super Tuesday tornado outbreak. We will then present two research efforts in greater depth. First, we will discuss a survey of Miami households’ uses, perceptions, and values for current and improved hurricane forecasts. This will include a discussion of non-market approaches for estimating values for hurricane forecasts and ongoing research related to the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project. Second, we will discuss ongoing NSF- and NOAA-funded research to improve weather warning systems, with a focus on flash floods and hurricanes. This work employs a multi-method approach to (1) study how weather warning information is created, interpreted and used by forecasters, public officials, media organizations, and the public; (2) explore the mental models that underlie people’s behavior with respect to weather warnings; and (3) apply the findings to improve development, communication, and use of weather warnings. The presentation will close with ideas for future work integrating social science into meteorology to help meet NOAA and NWS needs.



July 08, 2009

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., E.T.

SSMC#2, Room 2358





















(Contact:  Bob Glahn at (301) 713-1768)