The Impact of Writing Area Forecast Discussions on Student Forecaster Performance

Patrick S. Market Department of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri—Columbia, Columbia, Missouri

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Abstract

A brief study is provided on the forecast performance of students who write a mock area forecast discussion (AFD) on a weekly basis. Student performance was tracked for one semester (11 weeks) during the University of Missouri—Columbia's local weather forecast game. The hypothesis posed is that student performance is no better on days when they compose an AFD. A nonparametric Mann–Whitney test cannot reject that hypothesis. However, the same test employed on precipitation forecasts (for days when precipitation actually fell) shows that there is a statistically significant difference (p = 0.02) between the scores of those students writing an AFD and those who do not. Similar results are found with a chi-square test. Thus, AFD writers improve their precipitation score on days when significant weather occurred. Forecaster confidence is also enhanced by AFD composition.

Corresponding author address: Patrick S. Market, Dept. of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri—Columbia, 331 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Bldg., Columbia, MO 65211. Email: marketP@missouri.edu

Abstract

A brief study is provided on the forecast performance of students who write a mock area forecast discussion (AFD) on a weekly basis. Student performance was tracked for one semester (11 weeks) during the University of Missouri—Columbia's local weather forecast game. The hypothesis posed is that student performance is no better on days when they compose an AFD. A nonparametric Mann–Whitney test cannot reject that hypothesis. However, the same test employed on precipitation forecasts (for days when precipitation actually fell) shows that there is a statistically significant difference (p = 0.02) between the scores of those students writing an AFD and those who do not. Similar results are found with a chi-square test. Thus, AFD writers improve their precipitation score on days when significant weather occurred. Forecaster confidence is also enhanced by AFD composition.

Corresponding author address: Patrick S. Market, Dept. of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri—Columbia, 331 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Bldg., Columbia, MO 65211. Email: marketP@missouri.edu

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