Visualizing uncertainty. Towards a better understanding of weather forecasts

Alexander Toet, Susanne Tak, Johannes Bernardus Fransiscus van Erp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Uncertainty visualizations are increasingly used in communications to the general public. A well-known example is the weather forecast. Rather than providing an exact temperature value, weather forecasts often show the range in which the temperature will lie. But uncertainty visualizations are also deployed in graphical forecasts that are used for decision-making in many other different areas like agriculture, flood management, health care, and finance. Visualization appears to be an intuitive way to communicate uncertainty. In principle, uncertainty visualizations enable users to make better decisions by enhancing their awareness of the inherent uncertainty in the data. However, in practice many people (even experts) frequently misunderstand both the concept of uncertainty and its visualizations. We are currently investigating how the visual form and width of the graphical representation of uncertainty ranges affect how people interpret the underlying uncertainty distribution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-14
    JournalTijdschrift voor human factors
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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