Communication of uncertainty in temperature forecasts

Pricilla Marimo, Todd R. Kaplan, Ken Mylne, Martin Sharpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experimental economics is used to test whether undergraduate students presented with a temperature forecast with uncertainty information in a table and bar graph format were able to use the extra information to interpret a given forecast. Participants were asked to choose the most probable temperature-based outcome between a set of "lotteries." Both formats with uncertainty information were found on average to significantly increase the probability of choosing the correct outcome. However, in some cases providing uncertainty information was damaging. Factors that influence understanding are statistically determined. Furthermore, participants who were shown the graph with uncertainty information took on average less response time compared to those who were shown a table with uncertainty information. Over time, participants improve in speed and initially improve in accuracy of choosing the correct outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Meteorological Society.


  • Communications/decision making
  • Experimental design
  • Field experiments
  • Probability forecasts/models/distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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