General public values information about the impacts of weather conditions



CLIPS project started with a survey enquiring the needs and preferences of six week forecasts. Survey managed to collect ideas and opinions from over 400 Finnish citizens. Results of the survey have helped in designing the six week forecasts to be piloted during the project.

Survey was carried out last spring and its target group was the Finnish general public. We asked particularly questions related to the presentation of the forecast products, e.g. visualization and amount and content of the text supporting the forecasts. In addition to this we gave examples of possible six week forecasts for different seasons and asked the general public to pick up the ones they found useful for themselves.

CLIPS project aims at promoting the use of extended range forecasts and develop them to be more user-friendly. General public is often more familiar with weather forecasts, which describe weather in detail at a certain time and in a certain place. Forecasts that extend from weeks to months are different in their nature, and therefore the information they contain can be hard to interpret for users.

Finns welcomed the forecasts supporting the preparation for winter conditions

In the survey we gave examples of possible six week forecasts for different seasons and asked the general public to pick up the ones they found useful for themselves.The six week forecasts that had to do with winter conditions seemed to be especially interesting for the general public. The “sweather weather forecast” that estimates the probability of cold spells reached the first place. Another popular forecast products were estimating the need for winter tires and possible slippery and otherwise harsh traffic conditions.

Summer’s thunderstorm forecast attracted attention both in the survey and during the summer piloting season. A great number of questions and feedback from the pilot users were about the thunderstorm forecast product.

Majority of the respondents considered the six week forecasts helpful in planning activities especially in their free time, such as hobbies or other outdoor activities. They also though that extended range forecasts could provide help in timing of certain activities (harvesting) or deciding on a time for an activity (when to have vacations).

Impacts of weather conditions proved to be valuable for citizens

Great majority of the respondents (almost 80 per cent) found it important to receive information on how the weather conditions could affect them during the upcoming weeks. An example: If the forecast shows that the weather conditions for biking are weak, it is important to receive the information that the risk of falling with a bike or not being able to ride it is higher. However, the tips or guidelines on how to prepare for the weather conditions were not rated as valuable as the impact information – though it was considered important as well.

Respondents often already used extended or long range forecasts

Fare share of the respondents said that they already use some kind of extended or long range forecast. In this case, the extended or long range forecasts were either monthly or seasonal forecasts of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Respondents seemed to be using especially the monthly forecasts. It is likely that the respondents that took the survey were interested in the topic of extended or long range forecasts to begin with. Another finding indicating this was the fact that majority of the respondents said that they would be interested in testing the six week forecasts of the CLIPS project.

Uusimaa (Nyland) stood out in the distribution of from which location the respondents came from. Uusimaa is the most populated region in Finland and it covers for example Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa in the capital area. Despite the slight distortion there were respondents from almost every region of Finland. The profile was fairly even when it came to the living environment of the respondents. This means that the survey managed to get ideas from citizens living in different-sized cities as well as from Finns that inhabit the countryside and sparsely populated areas.


Six week forecast voted as the most useful was the “Sweather weather forecast”, which estimates the probability of cold spells. See the picture below for the full top ten.