The Evolving Weather Service: Forecaster’s Perceptions of Their Relationships with Core Partners

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  • 1 University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
  • 2 University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

Since the tragic tornado outbreaks in Central Alabama and Joplin, Missouri in 2011, the National Weather Service (NWS) has increasingly emphasized the importance of supporting community partners who help protect public safety. Through impact-based decision support services (IDSS), NWS forecasters develop relationships with their core partners to meet their partners’ decision-making needs. IDSS presents a fundamental shift in NWS forecasting through highlighting the importance of connecting with partners instead of simply providing partners with forecasts. A critical challenge to the effective implementation of IDSS is a lack of social science research evaluating the success of IDSS. This paper addresses this gap through a cross-sectional survey with 119 NWS forecasters and managers in the Central and Southern regions of the U.S. Findings uncover how NWS forecasters and management team members evaluate the importance of IDSS. Findings also provide a new instrument for NWS field offices to assess and improve their relationships with core partners.

Corresponding author: Brooke Fisher Liu, bfliu@umd.edu

Abstract

Since the tragic tornado outbreaks in Central Alabama and Joplin, Missouri in 2011, the National Weather Service (NWS) has increasingly emphasized the importance of supporting community partners who help protect public safety. Through impact-based decision support services (IDSS), NWS forecasters develop relationships with their core partners to meet their partners’ decision-making needs. IDSS presents a fundamental shift in NWS forecasting through highlighting the importance of connecting with partners instead of simply providing partners with forecasts. A critical challenge to the effective implementation of IDSS is a lack of social science research evaluating the success of IDSS. This paper addresses this gap through a cross-sectional survey with 119 NWS forecasters and managers in the Central and Southern regions of the U.S. Findings uncover how NWS forecasters and management team members evaluate the importance of IDSS. Findings also provide a new instrument for NWS field offices to assess and improve their relationships with core partners.

Corresponding author: Brooke Fisher Liu, bfliu@umd.edu
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