This article analyzes the use of climate forecasts among members of the Peruvian fishing sector during the 1997/98 El Nino event. It focuses on the effect of the time of hearing a forecast on the socioeconomic responses to the forecast. Findings are based on data collected from a survey of 596 persons in five ports spanning the length of the Peruvian coast. Respondents include commercial and artisanal fishers, plant workers, managers, and firm owners.

These data fill an important gap in the literature on the use of forecasts. Though modelers have discussed the effects of the timing of the dissemination and reception of forecasts, along with other factors, on acting on a forecast once it has been heard, few researchers have gathered empirical evidence on these topics.

The 1997/98 El Niño event was covered extensively by the media throughout Peru, affording the opportunity to study the effect of hearing forecasts on actions taken by members of a population directly impacted by ENSO events. Findings of this study examine the relationships among 1) socioeconomic variables, including geographic factors, age, education, income level, organizational ties, and media access; 2) time of hearing the forecast; and 3) actions taken in response to the forecast. Socioeconomic variables have a strong effect on the time of hearing the forecast and the actions taken in response to the forecast; however, time of hearing does not have an independent effect on taking action. The article discusses the implications of these findings for the application of forecasts.

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Footnotes

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, Davis, California, and International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

Division of Marine Affairs and Policy, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, and International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, Davis, Davis, California

A supplement to this article is available online (DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-84-11-Orlove)