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Brian Mills, Jean Andrey, Sean Doherty, Brent Doberstein, and Jennifer Yessis


Emergency department visitation data were analyzed using a matched-pair, retrospective cohort method to estimate the effects of winter storms on fall-related injury risks for a midsized urban community in Ontario, Canada. Using a unique definition and classification of winter storm events and dry-weather control periods, relative risks of injury were estimated for total falls and two subcategories (same-level falls involving ice and snow; all other falls) across two storm event types (snowfall only; mixed precipitation). Winter storms were associated with 38% and 102% increases in the mean incidence of same-level falls involving ice and snow during snow events and freezing-rain events, respectively. The incidence of other types of falls was slightly but significantly less during snow events relative to dry-weather control periods. Findings suggest that walking is not safer than driving during winter storms, as same-level falls involving ice and snow accounted for 64% more of the injury burden than motor vehicle collisions. Significant reductions in mean relative risk estimates for fall-related injuries were apparent over the 2009–17 study period indicating possible long-term shifts in exposure, sensitivity, and/or risk-mitigating decisions, actions, and behavior. Consistent and significant effects of government-issued weather warning communications on risk outcomes were not found. Practitioners engaged in developing injury prevention strategies and related public risk messaging, in particular winter weather warnings and advisories, should place additional emphasis on falls and multimodal injury risks in communications related to winter storm hazards.

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Rebecca E. Morss, Jeffrey K. Lazo, Barbara G. Brown, Harold E. Brooks, Philip T. Ganderton, and Brian N. Mills

Despite the meteorological community's long-term interest in weather-society interactions, efforts to understand socioeconomic aspects of weather prediction and to incorporate this knowledge into the weather prediction system have yet to reach critical mass. This article aims to reinvigorate interest in societal and economic research and applications (SERA) activities within the meteorological and social science communities by exploring key SERA issues and proposing SERA priorities for the next decade.

The priorities were developed by the authors, building on previous work, with input from a diverse group of social scientists and meteorologists who participated in a SERA workshop in August 2006. The workshop was organized to provide input to the North American regional component of THORPEX: A Global Atmospheric Research Programme, but the priorities identified are broadly applicable to all weather forecast research and applications.

To motivate and frame SERA activities, we first discuss the concept of high-impact weather forecasts and the chain from forecast creation to value realization. Next, we present five interconnected SERA priority themes—use of forecast information in decision making, communication of forecast uncertainty, user-relevant verification, economic value of forecasts, and decision support— and propose research integrated across the themes.

SERA activities can significantly improve understanding of weather-society interactions to the benefit of the meteorological community and society. However, reaching this potential will require dedicated effort to bring together and maintain a sustainable interdisciplinary community.

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Gilbert Brunet, Melvyn Shapiro, Brian Hoskins, Mitch Moncrieff, Randall Dole, George N. Kiladis, Ben Kirtman, Andrew Lorenc, Brian Mills, Rebecca Morss, Saroja Polavarapu, David Rogers, John Schaake, and Jagadish Shukla

The World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) have identified collaborations and scientific priorities to accelerate advances in analysis and prediction at subseasonalto-seasonal time scales, which include i) advancing knowledge of mesoscale–planetary-scale interactions and their prediction; ii) developing high-resolution global–regional climate simulations, with advanced representation of physical processes, to improve the predictive skill of subseasonal and seasonal variability of high-impact events, such as seasonal droughts and floods, blocking, and tropical and extratropical cyclones; iii) contributing to the improvement of data assimilation methods for monitoring and predicting used in coupled ocean–atmosphere–land and Earth system models; and iv) developing and transferring diagnostic and prognostic information tailored to socioeconomic decision making. The document puts forward specific underpinning research, linkage, and requirements necessary to achieve the goals of the proposed collaboration.

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Melvyn Shapiro, Jagadish Shukla, Gilbert Brunet, Carlos Nobre, Michel Béland, Randall Dole, Kevin Trenberth, Richard Anthes, Ghassem Asrar, Leonard Barrie, Philippe Bougeault, Guy Brasseur, David Burridge, Antonio Busalacchi, Jim Caughey, Deliang Chen, John Church, Takeshi Enomoto, Brian Hoskins, Øystein Hov, Arlene Laing, Hervé Le Treut, Jochem Marotzke, Gordon McBean, Gerald Meehl, Martin Miller, Brian Mills, John Mitchell, Mitchell Moncrieff, Tetsuo Nakazawa, Haraldur Olafsson, Tim Palmer, David Parsons, David Rogers, Adrian Simmons, Alberto Troccoli, Zoltan Toth, Louis Uccellini, Christopher Velden, and John M. Wallace

The necessity and benefits for establishing the international Earth-system Prediction Initiative (EPI) are discussed by scientists associated with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and natural-hazards and socioeconomic communities. The proposed initiative will provide research and services to accelerate advances in weather, climate, and Earth system prediction and the use of this information by global societies. It will build upon the WMO, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) to coordinate the effort across the weather, climate, Earth system, natural-hazards, and socioeconomic disciplines. It will require (i) advanced high-performance computing facilities, supporting a worldwide network of research and operational modeling centers, and early warning systems; (ii) science, technology, and education projects to enhance knowledge, awareness, and utilization of weather, climate, environmental, and socioeconomic information; (iii) investments in maintaining existing and developing new observational capabilities; and (iv) infrastructure to transition achievements into operational products and services.

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Helge F. Goessling, Thomas Jung, Stefanie Klebe, Jenny Baeseman, Peter Bauer, Peter Chen, Matthieu Chevallier, Randall Dole, Neil Gordon, Paolo Ruti, Alice Bradley, David H. Bromwich, Barbara Casati, Dmitry Chechin, Jonathan J. Day, François Massonnet, Brian Mills, Ian Renfrew, Gregory Smith, and Renee Tatusko
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Thomas Jung, Neil D. Gordon, Peter Bauer, David H. Bromwich, Matthieu Chevallier, Jonathan J. Day, Jackie Dawson, Francisco Doblas-Reyes, Christopher Fairall, Helge F. Goessling, Marika Holland, Jun Inoue, Trond Iversen, Stefanie Klebe, Peter Lemke, Martin Losch, Alexander Makshtas, Brian Mills, Pertti Nurmi, Donald Perovich, Philip Reid, Ian A. Renfrew, Gregory Smith, Gunilla Svensson, Mikhail Tolstykh, and Qinghua Yang


The polar regions have been attracting more and more attention in recent years, fueled by the perceptible impacts of anthropogenic climate change. Polar climate change provides new opportunities, such as shorter shipping routes between Europe and East Asia, but also new risks such as the potential for industrial accidents or emergencies in ice-covered seas. Here, it is argued that environmental prediction systems for the polar regions are less developed than elsewhere. There are many reasons for this situation, including the polar regions being (historically) lower priority, with fewer in situ observations, and with numerous local physical processes that are less well represented by models. By contrasting the relative importance of different physical processes in polar and lower latitudes, the need for a dedicated polar prediction effort is illustrated. Research priorities are identified that will help to advance environmental polar prediction capabilities. Examples include an improvement of the polar observing system; the use of coupled atmosphere–sea ice–ocean models, even for short-term prediction; and insight into polar–lower-latitude linkages and their role for forecasting. Given the enormity of some of the challenges ahead, in a harsh and remote environment such as the polar regions, it is argued that rapid progress will only be possible with a coordinated international effort. More specifically, it is proposed to hold a Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) from mid-2017 to mid-2019 in which the international research and operational forecasting communites will work together with stakeholders in a period of intensive observing, modeling, prediction, verification, user engagement, and educational activities.

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