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Title: Farmers' accuracy interpreting seasonal climate forecast probability
Contributor(s): Coventry, William L  (author)orcid ; Dalgleish, LI (author)
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1002/joc.3825
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Abstract: We explored errors interpreting the seasonal climate forecast (SCF) statement "In the next 3 months, the probability of exceeding median rainfall is 30%" used by the Australian media. Study one comprised 73 farmers and 12 climate staff and (1) developed a five-item multiple-choice questionnaire assessing understanding for the SCF, and (2) assessed errors interpreting the statement. The farmers who incorrectly interpreted the statement (29%) as forecasting a wetter season than normal had a lower understanding of the statement, in contrast to farmers making the correct interpretation (56%) and the climate staff. The statement appeared to be misinterpreted as a specific value of rain that was above the median by 30%, because of (1) difficulty conceptualizing 'above median rainfall' and 'below median rainfall' as distinct events, and (2) the percentage being interpreted as a specific value and not as a notion of chance. Study two, with 72 laypersons, showed more errors and slower responses with statements of probabilities less than 50% (i.e. 30%) than statements of probabilities greater than 50% (i.e. 70%), explained by the positive connotation biases of the event 'above median rainfall' and/or the use of the term 'probability'.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: International Journal of Climatology, 34(6), p. 2097-2107
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1097-0088
Field of Research (FOR): 040105 Climatology (excl Climate Change Processes)
170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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