Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weather Map Thoughts

This post whilst public, is actually a response to the Weather Network Roundtable discussion on map products this week, and previously I didn't have an example of what irks me and now that I have, it was too large to put in a simple tweet.

Above is a map that went out on Social Media on the morning of May 13 2014.  I'll quickly run through the three things that leap out at me:

The first problem with any time sensitive image on Social Media is you need to be specific about dates and times.  A map titled "Today" may mean May 13th right now, but if I'm scanning my twitter feed at 12:30am before bed, "today" might mean tomorrow. 

Additionally, is "today" inclusive of "tonight" or will a second map replace this one this evening? Again, this isn't clear and so for all I know, this map could be talking only about events that commence after 5pm.

The second problem is according to the legend, we have possible states:  Severe, and Non Severe.  Given the map is coloured with only the "non severe" colour, you'd think at a glance that this means there's not going to be any severe event because nothing is coloured in as severe... Except the non-severe area is negated by text saying that an isolated severe event might happen.  So really, this map should have one colour that says "thunderstorms, with some isolated severe" rather than say "it's non-severe, except where it's not".

The third and final problem is the ambiguity of using the "isolated severe" text.  Is that written where it is because of space issues? Is the severe event only over Michigan, western Ontario and the Bruce Peninsula? Or does the isolated severe event apply to everywhere in the non-severe coloured area?  Again, this is largely open to ambiguity.

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