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  • Author or Editor: Burrell E. Montz x
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Minh D. Phan, Burrell E. Montz, Scott Curtis, and Thomas M. Rickenbach

Abstract

Millions of people in the United States regularly acquire information from weather forecasts for a wide variety of reasons. The rapid growth in mobile device technology has created a convenient means for people to retrieve this data, and in recent years, mobile weather applications (MWAs) have quickly gained popularity. Research on weather sources, however, has been unable to sufficiently capture the importance of this form of information gathering. As use of these apps continues to grow, it is important to gain insight on the usefulness of MWAs to consumers. To better examine MWA preferences and behaviors relating to acquired weather information, a survey of 308 undergraduate students from three different universities throughout the southeast United States was undertaken. Analyses of the survey showed that smartphone MWAs are the primary weather forecast source among college students. Additionally, MWA users tend to seek short-term forecast information, like the hourly forecast, from their apps. Results also provide insight into daily MWA use by college students as well as perceptions of and preferential choices for specific MWA features and designs. The information gathered from this study will allow other researchers to better evaluate and understand the changing landscape of weather information acquisition and how this relates to the uses, perceptions, and values people garner from forecasts. Organizations that provide weather forecasts have an ever-growing arsenal of resources to disseminate information, making research of this topic extremely valuable for future development of weather communication technology.

Open access