Do probabilistic forecasts lead to better decisions?

Ramos, M. H.; van Andel, S. J.; Pappenberger, F.
December 2012
Hydrology & Earth System Sciences Discussions;2012, Vol. 9 Issue 12, p13569
Academic Journal
The last decade has seen growing research in producing probabilistic hydro-meteorological forecasts and increasing their reliability. This followed the promise that, supplied with information about uncertainty, people would take better risk-based decisions. In recent years, therefore, research and operational developments have also start putting attention to ways of communicating the probabilistic forecasts to decision makers. Communicating probabilistic forecasts includes preparing tools and products for visualization, but also requires understanding how decision makers perceive and use uncertainty information in real-time. At the EGU General Assembly 2012, we conducted a laboratory-style experiment in which several cases of flood forecasts and a choice of actions to take were presented as part of a game to participants, who acted as decision makers. Answers were collected and analyzed. In this paper, we present the results of this exercise and discuss if indeed we make better decisions on the basis of probabilistic forecasts.


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