Budget Cutting and the Value of Weather Services

Charles A. Doswell III NOAA/ERL National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Search for other papers by Charles A. Doswell III in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Harold E. Brooks NOAA/ERL National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Search for other papers by Harold E. Brooks in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

The authors discuss the relationship between budget-cutting exercises and knowledge of the value of weather services. The complex interaction between quality (accuracy) and value of weather forecasts prevents theoretical approaches from contributing much to the discussion, except perhaps to indicate some of the sources for its complexity. The absence of comprehensive theoretical answers indicates the importance of empirical determinations of forecast value; as it stands, the United States is poorly equipped to make intelligent decisions in the current and future budget situations. To obtain credible empirical answers, forecasters will need to develop closer working relationships with their users than ever before, seeking specific information regarding economic value of forecasts. Some suggestions for developing plausible value estimates are offered, based largely on limited studies already in the literature. Efforts to create closer ties between forecasters and users can yield diverse benefits, including the desired credible estimates of the value of forecasts, as well as estimates of the sensitivity of that value to changes in accuracy of the forecasts. The authors argue for the development of an infrastructure to make these empirical value estimates, as a critical need within weather forecasting agencies, public and private, in view of continuing budget pressures.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Charles A. Doswell III, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK 73069.

Email: doswell@nssl.noaa.gov

Abstract

The authors discuss the relationship between budget-cutting exercises and knowledge of the value of weather services. The complex interaction between quality (accuracy) and value of weather forecasts prevents theoretical approaches from contributing much to the discussion, except perhaps to indicate some of the sources for its complexity. The absence of comprehensive theoretical answers indicates the importance of empirical determinations of forecast value; as it stands, the United States is poorly equipped to make intelligent decisions in the current and future budget situations. To obtain credible empirical answers, forecasters will need to develop closer working relationships with their users than ever before, seeking specific information regarding economic value of forecasts. Some suggestions for developing plausible value estimates are offered, based largely on limited studies already in the literature. Efforts to create closer ties between forecasters and users can yield diverse benefits, including the desired credible estimates of the value of forecasts, as well as estimates of the sensitivity of that value to changes in accuracy of the forecasts. The authors argue for the development of an infrastructure to make these empirical value estimates, as a critical need within weather forecasting agencies, public and private, in view of continuing budget pressures.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Charles A. Doswell III, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK 73069.

Email: doswell@nssl.noaa.gov

Save
  • Anaman, K. A., and S. C. Lellyett, 1996: Assessment of the benefits of an enhanced weather information service for the cotton industry in Australia. Meteor. Appl.,3, 127–136.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Brooks, H. E., and C. A. Doswell III, 1996: A comparison between measures-oriented and distributions-oriented approaches to forecast verification. Wea. Forecasting,11, 288–303.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, J. M. Fritsch, and C. A. Doswell III, 1996: The future of weather forecasting: The eras of revolution and reconstruction. Preprints, 15th Conf. on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, Norfolk, VA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 523–526.

  • Chapman, R. E., 1992: Benefit-cost analysis for the modernization and associated restructuring of the National Weather Service. NOAA/National Weather Service, 118 pp. [Available from U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA/National Weather Service, 1325 East–West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.].

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Emanuel, K., and Coauthors, 1995: Report of the first prospectus development team of the U.S. Weather Research Program to NOAA and the NSF. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,76, 1194–1208.

  • Fisher, A., L. G. Chestnut, and D. M. Violette, 1989: The value of reducing risks of death: A note on new evidence. J. Policy Anal. Manage.,8, 88–100.

  • Leigh, R. J., 1995: Economic benefits for terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAFs) for Sydney Airport, Australia. Meteor. Appl.,2, 239–247.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Lord, S. J., 1996: The impact on synoptic-scale forecasts over the United States of dropwindsonde observations taken in the northeast Pacific. Preprints, 11th Conf. on Numerical Weather Prediction, Norfolk, VA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 70–71.

  • Murphy, A. H., 1994: Assessing the economic value of weather forecasts: An overview of methods, results, and issues. Meteor. Appl.,1, 69–73.

  • ——, and M. Ehrendorfer, 1987: On the relationship between the accuracy and value of forecasts in the cost–loss ratio situation. Wea. Forecasting,2, 243–251.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, and R. L. Winkler, 1987: A general framework for forecast verification. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 1330–1338.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Pielke, R. A., Jr., and J. Kimpel, 1997: Societal aspects of weather:Report of the sixth prospectus development team of the U.S. Weather Research Program to NOAA and NSF. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,78, 867–876.

  • Robinson, P. J., 1989: The influence of weather on flight operations at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. Wea. Forecasting,4, 461–468.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Roebber, P. J., and L. F. Bosart, 1996: The complex relationship between forecast skill and forecast value: A real-world analysis. Wea. Forecasting,11, 544–559.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Spagnol, J., M. Horita, and P. Haering, 1980: Analyses of the eastern Pacific without Ship Papa data. Preprints, Eighth Conf. on Weather Forecasting and Analysis, Denver, CO, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 150–155.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 412 76 10
PDF Downloads 201 38 9