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Sara E. Harrison
,
Sally H. Potter
,
Raj Prasanna
,
Emma E. H. Doyle
, and
David Johnston

Abstract

Impact forecasts and warnings (IFW) are key to resilience for hydrometeorological hazards. Communicating the potential social, economic, and environmental hazard impacts allows individuals and communities to adjust their plans and better prepare for the consequences of the hazard. IFW systems require additional knowledge about impacts and underlying vulnerability and exposure. Lack of data or knowledge about impacts, vulnerability, and exposure has been identified as a challenge for IFW implementation. In this study, we begin to address this challenge by developing an understanding of the data needs and uses for IFWs. Using the grounded theory method, we conducted a series of interviews with users and creators of hazard, impact, vulnerability, and exposure data (e.g., warning services, forecasters, meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, data specialists, risk modelers) to understand where these data are needed and used in the warning value chain, a concept used to represent and understand the flow of information among actors in the warning chain. In support of existing research, we found a growing need for creating, gathering, and using impact, vulnerability, and exposure data for IFWs. Furthermore, we identified different approaches for impact forecasting and defining impact thresholds using objective models and subjective impact-oriented discussions depending on the data available. We also provided new insight into a growing need to identify, model, and warn for social and health impacts, which have typically taken a back seat to modeling and forecasting physical and infrastructure impacts. Our findings on the data needs and uses within IFW systems will help guide their development and provide a pathway for identifying specific relevant data sources.

Open access