Weather Communication and Warn...

Weather Communication and Warning (WCW)

The Weather Communication and Warning (WCW) program seeks to enhance the societal benefits of weather and climate risk information by advancing understanding of weather-related decision making and by collaborating with scientists and stakeholders to improve information communication and use. We apply social science concepts and methods to atmospheric science issues, promoting and facilitating interdisciplinary work. Areas of study include hurricanes, riverine and flash floods, drought, everyday weather forecasts, and extreme weather in the context of climate variability and change, with a particular emphasis on the roles of uncertainty.

We focus on three intersecting themes: communicationrisk perception, and decision making.

Research emphases include:

  • How do members of the public, including more vulnerable populations, obtain and interpret weather forecasts and warnings? How do they use this information in decisions about managing weather impacts?
  • How do members of the primary groups involved in weather forecasting and warning — weather forecasters, broadcast media, and emergency managers — create and convey weather risk messages? 
  • What are the key differences between experts’ and laypeople’s conceptualizations of weather-related risk and their understandings of risk messages? 
  •  How do stakeholders with diverse beliefs perceive weather and climate risks, and how do these perceptions and other factors influence their decisions in the face of uncertainties about future weather and climate?
  • How can we apply this knowledge to improve the communication, use, and value of weather-related information?

The program is based in the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division of the NCAR Earth System Laboratory.  We also work closely with researchers in other NCAR groups and at universities, and with information providers (including personnel at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Weather Service) and users.

For further information, contact:  Dr. Rebecca Morss, Scientist III | morss at ucar dot edu

Damage along the Galveston, Texas seawall after Hurricane Ike (2008).

Damage along the Galveston, Texas seawall after Hurricane Ike (2008).