Subscribers to the NOAA Monthly and Seasonal Weather Outlook

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  • 1 Climate and Meteorology Section , Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL 61820
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The identity and characteristics of users of existing climate predictions (monthly and seasonal) as inputs to decision making are described. Subscribers to the NOAA Climate Analysis Center's Monthly and Seasonal Weather Outlook (MSWO) are surveyed by questionnaire to identify their industry types, general levels of climate-information use, and geographic locations. Characteristics of subscribers who have indicated that they do use the predictions in decision making, as opposed to those who do not, are determined using stepwise discriminant analysis. It is found that agricultural activities represent the largest group of subscribers, whereas energy producers and distributors represent the largest group of systematic users of the climate predictions. Maps showing the distribution of the three leading categories of respondents (agriculture, energy, and government and education) are presented to show where certain types of subscribers are located and where they most often apply the predictions. The analysis suggests that subscriber/respondents' firm size, level of familiarity with atmospheric science, and judgments of the usefulness of predictions given current accuracies, lead time, and skill in anticipating extreme weather events had the most bearing on whether or not they use the MWSO in decision making. Moreover, the fact that the MSWO has essentially no lead time was three times more important than any of the other parameters in discriminating between users and nonusers.

1 Adjunct assistant professor of geography at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana.

The identity and characteristics of users of existing climate predictions (monthly and seasonal) as inputs to decision making are described. Subscribers to the NOAA Climate Analysis Center's Monthly and Seasonal Weather Outlook (MSWO) are surveyed by questionnaire to identify their industry types, general levels of climate-information use, and geographic locations. Characteristics of subscribers who have indicated that they do use the predictions in decision making, as opposed to those who do not, are determined using stepwise discriminant analysis. It is found that agricultural activities represent the largest group of subscribers, whereas energy producers and distributors represent the largest group of systematic users of the climate predictions. Maps showing the distribution of the three leading categories of respondents (agriculture, energy, and government and education) are presented to show where certain types of subscribers are located and where they most often apply the predictions. The analysis suggests that subscriber/respondents' firm size, level of familiarity with atmospheric science, and judgments of the usefulness of predictions given current accuracies, lead time, and skill in anticipating extreme weather events had the most bearing on whether or not they use the MWSO in decision making. Moreover, the fact that the MSWO has essentially no lead time was three times more important than any of the other parameters in discriminating between users and nonusers.

1 Adjunct assistant professor of geography at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana.

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