Pielke Jr., R. A., J. Kimple, C. Adams, J. Baker, S. Changnon, K. F. Heideman, P. Leavitt, R. N. Keener, J. McCarthy, K. Miller, A. H. Murphy, R. S. Pulwarty, R. Roth, E. M. Stanley Sr., T. Stewart, T. Zacharias, 1997: Societal aspects of weather: Report of the Sixth Prospectus Development Team of the U.S. Weather Research Program to NOAA and NSF. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 78, 867-876.


U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) Prospectus Development Teams (PDTs) are small groups of advisors that are convened by the program's lead scientist on a one-time basis to discuss critical issues and to provide advice related to future directions of the program. PDTs are a principal source of information for the Science Advisory Committee, which is standing committee charged with the duty of making recommendations to the program office based upon overall program objectives. It is generally accepted that weather problems are both social and physical phenomena. Research findings from the social sciences have been crucially important in understanding and improving human responses to economic, social, and environmental weather-related risks. Despite the centrality of this research area, it has in the past received too little attention and too few resources. PDT 6 brought together a broad range of expertise and experience to focus on three main objectives: 1) to discuss and assess the nature and scope of U.S. weather problems, 2) to conduct a brief review of the societal aspects of weather, and 3) to discuss and explore the role of existing and improved weather information in addressing those problems. Several themes emerged in discussion at the workshop. First and foremost, users need to be included in all aspects of the USWRP and not just at the "end of the line." Research in social aspects of weather can help to facilitate constructive interactions between physical scientists and users. Second, societal aspects research can help to focus on issues related to pressing national weather problems. The complex nature of these problems is poorly understood. Problem-oriented social science research can help to identify the factors that characterize the problems and to define the potential and actual value of various research and research-related products.