EMS Annual Meeting Abstracts
Vol. 18, EMS2021-266, 2021
EMS Annual Meeting 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Leveraging Different Visual Designs for Communication of Severe Weather Events and their Uncertainty

Ananya Pandya1, Nathalie Popovic2, Alexandra Diehl1, Ian Ruginski1, Sara Fabrikant1, and Renato Pajarola1
Ananya Pandya et al.
  • 1University of Zurich, Informatics, Informatics, Switzerland (diehl@ifi.uzh.ch)
  • 2Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Switzerland

Effective communication of potential weather hazards and its uncertainty to the general public is key to prevent and mitigate negative outcomes from weather hazards. The general public needs effective tools at hand that can allow them to make the best decision as possible during a severe weather event. Currently, there are many approaches for weather forecast visualization, such as contour and thematic maps [5]. However, guidelines and best practices in visualization can help to improve these designs and make them more effective [1, 2].

In this work, we present several interactive visual designs for mobile visualization of severe weather events for the communication of weather hazards, their risks, uncertainty, and recommended actions. Our approach is based on previous work on uncertainty visualization [5], cognitive science [6], and decision sciences for risk management [3, 4]. We propose six configurations that vary the ratio of text vs graphics used in the visual display, and the interaction workflow needed for a non-expert user to make an informed decision and effective actions. Our goal is to test how efficient these configurations are and to what degree they are suitable to communicate weather hazards, associated uncertainty, risk, and recommended actions to non-experts. Future steps include two cycle of evaluations, consisting of a first pilot to rapidly test the prototype with a small number of participants, collect actionable insights, and incorporate potential improvements. In a second user study, we will perform a crowd-sourced extensive evaluation of the visualization prototypes.


[1] A. Diehl, A. Abdul-Rahman, M. El-Assady, B. Bach, D. A. Keim, and M. Chen. Visguides: A forum for discussing visualization guidelines. In Proceedings of the EuroVis Short Papers, pages 61–65, 2018.

[2]  A. Diehl, E. E. Firat, T. Torsney-Weir, A. Abdul-Rahman, B. Bach, R. S. Laramee, R. Pajarola, and M. Chen. VisGuided: A community-driven approach for education in visualization.  In Proceedings Eurographics Education Papers, to appear, 2021.

[3] N. Fleischhut and S. M. Herzog. Wie laesst sich die unsicherheit von vorhersagen sinnvoll kommu- nizieren? In Wetterwarnungen: Von der Extremereignisinformation zu Kommunikation und Handlung. Beiträge aus dem Forschungsprojekt WEXICOM, pages 63–81. 2019.

[4] G. Gigerenzer, R. Hertwig, E. Van Den Broek, B. Fasolo, and K. V. Katsikopoulos. “A 30% chance of rain tomorrow”: How does the public understand probabilistic weather forecasts? Risk Analysis: An International Journal, 25(3):623–629, 2005.

[5] I. Kübler, K.-F. Richter, and S. I. Fabrikant. Against all odds: multicriteria decision making with hazard prediction maps depicting uncertainty. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(3):661–683, 2020.

[6] L. M. Padilla, I. T. Ruginski, and S. H. Creem-Regehr. Effects of ensemble and summary displays on interpretations of geospatial uncertainty data. Cognitive research: principles and implications, 2(1):1–16, 2017.

How to cite: Pandya, A., Popovic, N., Diehl, A., Ruginski, I., Fabrikant, S., and Pajarola, R.: Leveraging Different Visual Designs for Communication of Severe Weather Events and their Uncertainty, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-266, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2021-266, 2021.

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