Factors Influencing the Motivations and Perceived Usefulness of a Weather Radar Display in Tampa Bay

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Social Science, Radars/Radar observations, Communications/decision making

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Weather information is widely available across many media platforms, including televisions, computers, smartphones, and tablets. In addition to weather forecast information, people are seeking and using a variety of weather information sources that provide them with current conditions and include tools such as satellite images and weather radar displays. However, little is known about how individuals use and perceive information from weather radar displays, despite the existence of radar since the 1940s. This study is a novel exploration of how Tampa Bay area residents use radar and identifies several important factors that influence how useful radar is perceived to be as a decision-making tool. It also investigates what information radar users find most important when choosing to view a radar display, as well as what electronic sources are used most often to access weather radar. The final goal of this study is to identify which activities motivate a Tampa Bay resident to view weather radar. Data were collected using an online survey instrument. This study finds that survey respondents in the Tampa Bay area frequently view a weather radar display and find it to be a very useful tool. Respondents who reported greater accuracy for the location of precipitation on a radar display were more likely to rate the radar display as being more useful. The majority of respondents indicate they use a smartphone device to view radar most often and that participating in outdoor activities was an important motivator for using radar.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, v. 102, issue 6, p. E1192-E1205