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Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2018-17
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2018-17
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Dec 2018

Research article | 10 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Geoscience Communication (GC) and is expected to appear here in due course.

The Met Office Weather Game: investigating how different methods for presenting probabilistic weather forecasts influence decision-making

Elisabeth M. Stephens1, David J. Spiegelhalter2, Ken Mylne3, and Mark Harrison3 Elisabeth M. Stephens et al.
  • 1School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Whiteknights, RG6 6AB, UK
  • 2Statistical Laboratory, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge, CB3 0WB, UK
  • 3Met Office, Fitzroy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK

Abstract. To inform the way probabilistic forecasts would be displayed on their website the UK Met Office ran an online game as a mass participation experiment to highlight the best methods of communicating uncertainty in rainfall and temperature forecasts, and to widen public engagement in uncertainty in weather forecasting. The game used a hypothetical ice-cream seller scenario and a randomised structure to test decision-making ability using different methods of representing uncertainty and to enable participants to experience being lucky or unlucky when the most likely forecast scenario did not occur.

Data were collected on participant age, gender, educational attainment and previous experience of environmental modelling. The large number of participants (n > 8000) that played the game has led to the collation of a unique large dataset with which to compare the impact on decision-making ability of different weather forecast presentation formats. This analysis demonstrates that within the game the provision of information regarding forecast uncertainty greatly improved decision-making ability, and did not cause confusion in situations where providing the uncertainty added no further information.

Elisabeth M. Stephens et al.
Elisabeth M. Stephens et al.
Elisabeth M. Stephens et al.
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Short summary
The UK Met Office ran an online game to highlight the best methods of communicating uncertainty in their online forecasts and to widen engagement in probabilistic weather forecasting. The game used a randomised design to test different methods of presenting uncertainty and to enable participants to experience being lucky or unlucky when the most likely scenario did not occur. Over 8000 people played the game; we found players made better decisions when provided with forecast uncertainty.
The UK Met Office ran an online game to highlight the best methods of communicating uncertainty...
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