Exploring the data needs and sources for severe weather impact forecasts and warnings : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Emergency Management at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Early warning systems offer an essential, timely, and cost-effective approach for mitigating the impacts of severe weather hazards. Yet, notable historic severe weather events have exposed major communication gaps between warning services and target audiences, resulting in widespread losses. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has proposed Impact Forecasts and Warnings (IFW) to address these communication gaps by bringing in knowledge of exposure, vulnerability, and impacts; thus, leading to warnings that may better align with the position, needs, and capabilities of target audiences. A gap was identified in the literature around implementing IFWs: that of accessing the required knowledge and data around impacts, vulnerability, and exposure. This research aims to address this gap by exploring the data needs of IFWs and identifying existing and potential data sources to support those needs. Using Grounded Theory (GT), 39 interviews were conducted with users and creators of hazard, impact, vulnerability, and exposure (HIVE) data within and outside of Aotearoa New Zealand. Additionally, three virtual workshops provided triangulation with practitioners. In total, 59 people participated in this research. Resulting qualitative data were analysed using GT coding techniques, memo-writing, and diagramming. Findings indicate a growing need for gathering and using impact, vulnerability, and exposure data for IFWs. New insight highlights a growing need to model and warn for social and health impacts. Findings further show that plenty of sources for HIVE data are collected for emergency response and other uses with relevant application to IFWs. Partnerships and collaboration lie at the heart of using HIVE data both for IFWs and for disaster risk reduction. This thesis contributes to the global understanding of how hydrometeorological and emergency management services can implement IFWs, by advancing the discussion around implementing IFWs as per the WMO’s guidelines, and around building up disaster risk data in accordance with the Sendai Framework Priorities. An important outcome of this research is the provision of a pathway for stakeholders to identify data sources and partnerships required for implementing a hydrometeorological IFW system.
Figures 2.4 & 2.5 are re-used with permission.
The journal articles in Appendices J, L & M are republished under respective Creative Commons licenses. Appendix K has been removed from the thesis in accordance with the American Meteorological Society Copyright Policy, but is available open access at https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-21-0093.1
Listed in 2022 Dean's List of Exceptional Theses
Weather forecasting, Hydrometeorological services, Data sets, New Zealand, Emergency management, Data processing, Dean's List of Exceptional Theses