The Unexpected Role Of 1 Degree: How Forecasts Can Save Life During A Heat Wave

The accuracy of the weather forecast is crucial during a hot spell, since even a slight difference of one degree could have devastating consequences for individuals. When the body is struggling to cool off, accuracy in temperature predictions are crucial for ensuring safety and wellbeing. A temperature increase of one degree can cause the heat index to rise dangerously, which could lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Accurate forecasting is therefore vital to the safety of emergency responders, communities, and at-risk groups.

In addition, accurate weather forecasts are essential to help individuals make informed decisions regarding their daily activities during a hot spell. Knowing the exact temperature helps people plan their outdoor activities, adjust schedules, and prepare for protection such as sunscreen, lightweight clothing, or adequate hydration. Without accurate forecasts individuals could underestimate the severity and risk of heat-related illness. In order to ensure the safety of people during a hot spell, accurate weather predictions are crucial.

Weather forecasts have gotten quite good over the years, but their temperatures aren’t always spot on – and the result when they underplay extremes can be lethal. Even a 1-degree difference Our research has shown that the accuracy of a forecast can make a difference between life or death.

You can also read about the advantages of using economists, we have studied Forecasting weather and how people use it to manage risks. We examined the way humans survive in a new paper for National Bureau of Economic Research. depends on the accuracy of temperature forecastsParticularly during heatwaves like large parts of the U.S. Recent days have seen a rise in the number of people who suffer from this condition.

When the forecasts underplayed risk, even minor forecast errors lead to more deaths.

Our results also prove that improving forecasts is worthwhile. The results suggest that improving forecasts by 50% would save 2200 lives annually across the country, and have a value of nearly twice the annual budget National Weather Service

The forecasts are often too mild, which leads to more deaths

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is responsible for all issues in the U.S. 1.5 million forecasts per year The company collects more than 76 billion meteorological observations, which it shares with private companies to improve forecasts.

We analyzed data on every day’s deathsWeather and National Weather Service predictions in every U.S. county between 2005 and 2017 were analyzed to determine the impact they had on human survival.

We compared the number of deaths in each county in the week that followed a weather day with accurate predictions to deaths in a county with inaccurate forecasts, but with the same weather. The weather conditions were identical, so any differences in mortality can be attributed by the people’s reaction to forecasts.

Cars drive under a sign reading: Extreme heat. Save Power 4-9PM. Stay Cool
The 110 Freeway in Los Angeles suburbs is lined with warning signs as vehicles pass them on September 2, 2022. This heat wave will see temperatures reach 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

On cold days, we found that the forecast was incorrect on both hot and cold days. Summer days that were hotter and winter days colder than forecast. had more deaths. Forecasts that predicted the opposite and underestimated the summer heat or the winter cold had a minimal impact.

But that doesn’t mean they should exaggerate. People who find their forecasts consistently wrong may change the way they use them or lose trust in them, putting themselves at greater risk.

People pay attention

People pay attention to forecasts, and they adjust their activities accordingly.

You can also find out more about the following: American Time Use SurveyThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been conducting a continuous survey of Americans to see what they are up to on any particular day. We found that on days when the forecast called for temperatures to be milder than they turned out to be – either cooler on a hot day or warmer on a cold day – people in the survey spent more time on leisure and less in home or work settings.

Electricity use The use of air conditioning varies according to forecasts. It is therefore not just a reaction to the outside weather, but also dependent on the way people planned their weather.

A man holds something over his head to shield the sun from his forehead. Other people walking across the bridge on a bright, sunny day have umbrellas and hats.
A man walks on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, shielding his head from the sun during a hot day of summer 2018.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Forecasts are not equally used across the society. We found that deaths among racial minority groups are less sensitive than other races to forecasting errors. It could be because forecasts are not available or that people have less flexibility in implementing them. In future work we will investigate this difference, because the answer will determine how the National Weather Service best reaches everyone.

Forecasting better results is important

It’s clear that people use forecasts to make decisions that can matter for life and death – when to go hikingFor example, you can encourage your elderly neighbor to keep active. go to a cooling center.

What are the benefits of accurate forecasts for you?

We have combined our theoretical models with federal cost-benefit estimates We then calculated the willingness to pay for better forecasts. From these, we calculated people’s willingness-to-pay for better forecasts. The calculation includes the risk of death due to extreme weather as well the costs of using the forecasts in order to reduce that risk, like changing their work or play schedules.

This result shows 50% more accurate predictions worth at least US$2.1 billion per year Based solely on the mortality benefit. The 2022 budget of the National Weather Service Less than $1.3 billion.

The accuracy of weather forecasts has improved over the years. About 68% have an accuracy of less than 1.8° for the forecasts of next day temperatures. Our results show that improving forecast accuracy could be worth the investment.

Better models, better observations, and better computers have all contributed to past improvements. Future improvements could be achieved by using similar channels, or applying recent innovations. machine learning You can also find out more about the following: artificial intelligence Weather prediction and communication.

Climate change is a serious issue. increase the frequency of extremely hot daysWhat are especially important for human health It is essential to our survival that we forecast weather accurately. We will see more extreme weather as climate change progresses, but it is better to be prepared and forecast the unusual weather.