The Met Office Weather Game: investigating how different methods for presenting probabilistic weather forecasts influence decision-making
To inform the way probabilistic forecasts would be displayed on their website, the UK Met Office ran an online game as a mass participation experiment to highlight the best methods of communicating uncertainty in rainfall and temperature forecasts, and to widen public engagement in uncertainty in weather forecasting. The game used a hypothetical “ice-cream seller” scenario and a randomized structure to test decision-making ability using different methods of representing uncertainty and to enable participants to experience being “lucky” or “unlucky” when the most likely forecast scenario did not occur. Data were collected on participant age, gender, educational attainment, and previous experience of environmental modelling. The large number of participants (n>8000) that played the game has led to the collation of a unique large dataset with which to compare the impact on the decision-making ability of different weather forecast presentation formats. This analysis demonstrates that within the game the provision of information regarding forecast uncertainty greatly improved decision-making ability and did not cause confusion in situations where providing the uncertainty added no further information.