I Wish I Could Have A Job Where I Was Always Wrong! (132)

H. Michael Mogil, How The Weatherworks, Naples, FL

 

Abstract:

NOTE: Additional Requirements -- This presentation involves a hands-on, audience-involved, activity. It is NOT suitable for a poster presentation.

NOTE: Accidentally hit button for student school level I am not a student.

Matt Parker, AMS President and Certified Consulting Meteorologist, passed away earlier last year. Months before he passed, Matt and I discussed the importance of communication to our profession, and his wish that it be the theme for the 2018 Annual AMS Meeting. Parker echoed the theme often espoused by Dr. William Bonner, another AMS past-President. The focus is as relevant to the NWA Broadcaster's Conference as it was to thecorresponding AMS Conference.

With a long history of communication - including time spent in TV broadcasting, science and weather writing (blogging, magazine articles, and trade books), teaching, and more - I am always on the lookout for both good and bad examples of weather (and other discipline) communication. I have also earned communication certifications from both the AMS (CCM and CBM) and the NWA (Digital Media Seal).

During the teaching of our Southwest Florida Weather Camps (Summer 2017), Matt Bolton and I conducted an experiment in probability and quickly realized the inherent problems associated with using probabilities in public weather forecasting. Meteorologists' use of probabilities is predicated on strong science and math fundamentals to convey uncertainties to a U.S. population that is very unskilled in understanding science and math. This mismatch fuels the negative comments that have been thrust upon us by many in the public sphere who use weather information each day. It could be likened to fitting a square peg into a smaller, round hole.

I'll use our camp experimentation and other frameworks to showcase this situation to conference attendees. Then, we'll work to start a dialogue on ways to remedy the communication disconnect, in both broadcast and NWS circles.