Articles | Volume 17, issue 6
Research article
19 Jun 2013
Research article |  | 19 Jun 2013

Do probabilistic forecasts lead to better decisions?

M. H. Ramos, S. J. van Andel, and F. Pappenberger

Abstract. The last decade has seen growing research in producing probabilistic hydro-meteorological forecasts and increasing their reliability. This followed the promise that, supplied with information about uncertainty, people would take better risk-based decisions. In recent years, therefore, research and operational developments have also started focusing attention on ways of communicating the probabilistic forecasts to decision-makers. Communicating probabilistic forecasts includes preparing tools and products for visualisation, but also requires understanding how decision-makers perceive and use uncertainty information in real time. At the EGU General Assembly 2012, we conducted a laboratory-style experiment in which several cases of flood forecasts and a choice of actions to take were presented as part of a game to participants, who acted as decision-makers. Answers were collected and analysed. In this paper, we present the results of this exercise and discuss if we indeed make better decisions on the basis of probabilistic forecasts.