How does seasonal forecast performance influence decision-making? Insights from a serious game

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  • 1 a Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden
  • | 2 b INRAE, UR RiverLy, Villeurbanne, France
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Abstract

In a context that fosters the evolution of hydro-climate services, it is crucial to support and train users in making the best possible forecast-based decisions. Here, we analyze how decision-making is influenced by the seasonal forecast performance based on the Call For Water serious game in which participants manage a water supply reservoir. The aim is twofold: (1) train participants in the concepts of forecast sharpness and reliability, and (2) collect participants’ decisions to investigate the levels of forecast sharpness and reliability needed to make informed decisions. In the first game round, participants are provided with forecasts of varying reliability and sharpness, while in the second round, they have the possibility to pay for systematically reliable and sharp forecasts (improved forecasts). Exploitable answers were collected from 367 participants, predominantly researchers, forecasters and consultants in the water resources and energy sectors. Results show that improved forecasts led to better decisions, enabling participants to step out of purely conservative strategies and successfully take risks. Reliability levels of 60% are necessary for decision-making while both reliability levels above 70% and sharpness are required for informed risk-prone strategies. Improved forecasts are judged more valuable in extreme years, for instance when hedging against water shortage risks. Additionally, participants working in the energy, air quality and agriculture sectors, as well as traders, decision-makers and forecasters invested the most in forecasts. Finally, we discuss the potential of serious games to foster capacity development in hydro-climate services, and provide recommendations for forecast-based service development.

Corresponding author: louise.crochemore@outlook.fr

Abstract

In a context that fosters the evolution of hydro-climate services, it is crucial to support and train users in making the best possible forecast-based decisions. Here, we analyze how decision-making is influenced by the seasonal forecast performance based on the Call For Water serious game in which participants manage a water supply reservoir. The aim is twofold: (1) train participants in the concepts of forecast sharpness and reliability, and (2) collect participants’ decisions to investigate the levels of forecast sharpness and reliability needed to make informed decisions. In the first game round, participants are provided with forecasts of varying reliability and sharpness, while in the second round, they have the possibility to pay for systematically reliable and sharp forecasts (improved forecasts). Exploitable answers were collected from 367 participants, predominantly researchers, forecasters and consultants in the water resources and energy sectors. Results show that improved forecasts led to better decisions, enabling participants to step out of purely conservative strategies and successfully take risks. Reliability levels of 60% are necessary for decision-making while both reliability levels above 70% and sharpness are required for informed risk-prone strategies. Improved forecasts are judged more valuable in extreme years, for instance when hedging against water shortage risks. Additionally, participants working in the energy, air quality and agriculture sectors, as well as traders, decision-makers and forecasters invested the most in forecasts. Finally, we discuss the potential of serious games to foster capacity development in hydro-climate services, and provide recommendations for forecast-based service development.

Corresponding author: louise.crochemore@outlook.fr
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