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Understanding, evaluation, and use of climate forecast data by environmental policy students

Toru Ishikawa, Anthony G. Barnston, Kim A. Kastens and Patrick Louchouarn
Understanding, evaluation, and use of climate forecast data by environmental policy students (in Qualitative inquiry in geoscience education research, Anthony D. Feig (editor) and Alison Stokes (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (March 2011) 474: 153-170


This study empirically examined understanding, evaluation, and use of climate forecasts by prospective policy makers through a quantitative analysis of their interpretation of forecast information and a qualitative analysis of their decision making in a situated condition. Concerning the understanding of forecast data, results showed that people had difficulty in understanding the probabilistic nature of three-category forecasts. In particular, a misunderstanding relating to the category having the highest likelihood versus the other two categories was observed. Concerning evaluation, results showed that forecast users demanded high accuracy, in fact accuracy higher than is possible at the current state of the science in climate forecasting. Many participants did not positively evaluate the quality of forecasts or were reluctant to use the forecasts until the level of agreement between the forecasts and observations was better than is typically possible. In addition, different attitudes toward forecasts among different individuals led to conflicts during group decision making about water allocation for farming. Many participants disregarded the forecasts of precipitation and relied more on historical data showing changes in the reservoir levels for the past 20 yr. Furthermore, people's decisions about whether to consider the forecasts in water allocation tended to be influenced by whether the forecasts supported or undercut their perceived self-interest or predetermined positions. In using the results of this study to improve instruction, the concept of probability and the inevitable existence of uncertainty in forecasts emerged as two key issues.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 474
Title: Understanding, evaluation, and use of climate forecast data by environmental policy students
Title: Qualitative inquiry in geoscience education research
Author(s): Ishikawa, ToruBarnston, Anthony G.Kastens, Kim A.Louchouarn, Patrick
Author(s): Feig, Anthony D.editor
Author(s): Stokes, Alisoneditor
Affiliation: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
Affiliation: Central Michigan University, Department of Geology and Meteorology, Mount Pleasant, MI, United States
Pages: 153-170
Published: 201103
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 37
Accession Number: 2011-046232
Categories: Environmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch maps
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201126
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