Color inconsistencies across hazardous weather watches and warnings: Can standardized visual representation of risk improve public safety?
MacDonald, Caroline Nicole
Item TypeGraduate Thesis
AdvisorBrown, Michael E.
CommitteeGutter, Barrett F.
Mercer, Andrew E.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 2 years
Embargo Lift Date2022-05-16
Research has shown the color used to represent threat information can influence perceived risk and how individuals respond to watches and warnings. However, there is no standardized color scheme for hazardous weather products across the weather enterprise. This study’s objective was to determine if color inconsistencies have an effect on a product’s intended risk perception utilizing two public surveys. Results suggest color inconsistencies when representing hazardous weather products have a detrimental effect on that product’s intended message. The first survey found people use color to help determine risk and rely on whether a filled or outlined polygon is displayed. The second survey found the term “warning” is perceived to have more risk than the term “watch” for all hazardous weather types tested. The results from both surveys suggest a national, uniform color scale based on risk should be implemented across all weather enterprise agencies.