Reassessment of weather forecast terminology and content | The Meteorological Society of New Zealand

Reassessment of weather forecast terminology and content

C. de Freitas
K. Wells

It is important that the public's understanding of weather forecasts is neither confused nor incorrect and that the meteorological profession has up to date knowledge of the public's appreciation of forecast terms and content. The study attempts to examine this by comparing the results of a survey conducted in Auckland in 1980 with that of two identical surveys undertaken in Canada 15 and 30 years ago respectively. The results indicate that in New Zealand public interest and confidence in forecasts is today as high as it was in Canada in the past with a strong preference for those presented on radio. Less detail in forecast presentations is preferred despite trends in the opposite direction coincident with improvement in forecast technology. The desired connotation of commonly used forecast terms should frequently be reviewed so as to be more in line with the public's comprehension of them. Specifically, certain terms should be avoided. To improve the presentation and impact of forecasts, straightforward literal terminology is to be preferred and the public polled or consulted periodically to improve communication with forecasters.

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