On Subjective Probability Forecasting

  • Sanders F
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{T}he subjective process of probability forecasting is analyzed.
{I}t is found to contain a sorling aspect, in which the forecaster
distributes all instances into an ordered set of categories of likelihood
of occurrence, and a laboling aspect, in which the forecaster assigns
an anticipated relative frequency, or probability, of occurrence
for each category. {T}hese two aspects are identified with the concepts
of sharpness and validity, which have been introduced by other writers.
{T}he verification score proposed by {B}rier is shown to consist
of the sum of measures of these two qualities. {A} satisfactory measure
of synoptic skill is obtained by applying the {B}rier score to the
synoptic probability forecast and to a control forecast of the climatological
probability, and by expressing the difference as a percentage of
the control score.{I}n an analysis of a large number of short-range
probability forecasts made by instructors and students in the synoptic
laboratory of the {M}assachusetts {I}nstitute of {T}echnology it
is found that even inexperienced forecasters are capable of displaying
validity and skill except when dealing with events which occur very
rarely or nearly always. {S}kill for average or net conditions over
24-hr periods is found to he roughly twice the skill in forecasts
for a particular instant and is found to vary with the directness
with which the weather element can be inferred from prognostic charts.
{T}he average of the judgment of two or more forecasters with comparable
experience is found to be a more skillful statement than the forecast
of the most skilled individual.

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  • Frederick Sanders

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