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Effects of weather conditions on the public demand for weather information via smartphone in multiple regions of China

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  • 1 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
  • | 2 2HIWeather International Coordination Office, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • | 3 3National Center for Atmospheric Science, Boulder, Colorado, United States
  • | 4 4Moji Co., Ltd, Beijing, 100015, China
  • | 5 5National Meteorological Center, Chinese Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100080, China
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Abstract

Understanding when weather information is required by the public is essential for evaluating and improving user-oriented weather services. Due to the popularity of smartphones, most people can easily access weather information via smartphone applications. In this study, we analyzed usage data for the Moji Weather smartphone application in 2017 and 2018, and devised a demand index to determine how often the weather information was used by the public under different weather conditions. Using hourly observations of surface temperature, wind intensity, precipitation, and visibility, we quantified the relationship between the demand for weather information and weather conditions in different regions of China. Generally, the demand index increased with increases in local hourly precipitation or surface wind intensity in all regions; however, there were notable regional differences in the increasing trends. Extreme hot weather was found to increase the demand index in Northern China, Xinjiang, and the Sichuan Basin, while in Southern China it increased more in response to extreme cold weather. We quantified the relationships between the demand index and weather conditions by performing a polynomial regression analysis for each weather element and region. The high-demand thresholds were found to vary among regions, suggesting the need for customized weather services for users in different geographical regions. The study also revealed the contribution of weather warnings to weather information demand in two megacities, and showed that warnings were effective for conveying information regarding weather-related risks.

Corresponding author: Qinghong Zhang, qzhang@pku.edu.cn

Abstract

Understanding when weather information is required by the public is essential for evaluating and improving user-oriented weather services. Due to the popularity of smartphones, most people can easily access weather information via smartphone applications. In this study, we analyzed usage data for the Moji Weather smartphone application in 2017 and 2018, and devised a demand index to determine how often the weather information was used by the public under different weather conditions. Using hourly observations of surface temperature, wind intensity, precipitation, and visibility, we quantified the relationship between the demand for weather information and weather conditions in different regions of China. Generally, the demand index increased with increases in local hourly precipitation or surface wind intensity in all regions; however, there were notable regional differences in the increasing trends. Extreme hot weather was found to increase the demand index in Northern China, Xinjiang, and the Sichuan Basin, while in Southern China it increased more in response to extreme cold weather. We quantified the relationships between the demand index and weather conditions by performing a polynomial regression analysis for each weather element and region. The high-demand thresholds were found to vary among regions, suggesting the need for customized weather services for users in different geographical regions. The study also revealed the contribution of weather warnings to weather information demand in two megacities, and showed that warnings were effective for conveying information regarding weather-related risks.

Corresponding author: Qinghong Zhang, qzhang@pku.edu.cn
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