Man writing

Weather Ready Quick Response Research

To advance NOAA’s social science data needs, WPO’s Social Science Program partnered with the National Hazard Center—with support from the National Science Foundation, and in collaboration with the National Weather Service and National Severe Storms Laboratory— to develop the Weather Ready Quick Response Research Initiative to support social science event-based data collection and publication. This…

Woman with umbrella crossing the street

There’s a Chance of What? Assessing Numeracy Skills of Forecasters, Partners, and Publics

This project examined how end -users, such as forecasters, emergency managers, and the American public interpret and comprehend probabilistic tropical cyclone information. Using a concept known as numeracy, or one’s ability to use and understand numerical information, this study, in combination with past research, suggests that probability information helps people make decisions in the face…

Sunrise seen from above the mountains

WPO Launches New Social Science Hub

Over the last 15 years, NOAA has made great strides in integrating social and behavioral sciences in part through externally funded research projects. The goal of these efforts is to improve the communication of forecast products, assess the verbal and visual presentation of uncertainty, understand hazardous weather decision environments, and more. While much social and…

man looking at his phone while sitting outside

Wait, that forecast changed?

This project explored how various publics consume and process changing tropical cyclone information and forecasts over time. Most research to date has focused on obtaining social science data from people 2–4 weeks after a tropical cyclone has impacted an area. This study is unique and novel in that it created a social science methodology similar…

Satellite Image of Hurricane

NOAA is changing the way it talks about hurricanes

A day before Hurricane Laura made landfall, the National Hurricane Center issued a warning of “unsurvivable storm surge” in parts of Texas and Louisiana. It’s a phrase that quickly captured widespread attention. Many journalists, including at Wired, NPR, BBC, Mother Jones, Vox, and here at Popular Science, ran headlines amplifying this message. Senator Bernie Sanders repeated this language in a tweet. The National Hurricane…


National Academy releases OWAQ funded study

Report on Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences within the Weather Enterprise Hot off the press! The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released their study titled, “Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences within the Weather Enterprise.” The Office of Weather and Air Quality funded the study with additional support from the National Weather Service and…

Flooded road

New partnership between NSF and NOAA to help people respond appropriately to dangerous weather systems

In an effort to minimize the loss of life in future events, a new partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aims to provide the necessary tools to ensure people respond appropriately to dangerous weather systems. A key part of this work involves understanding how people behave when hazards approach, so emergency services can improve the content and distribution of storm warnings and other communications.