Cognitive Task Analysis
Warning Forecaster Position
The completed results of the Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) performed
on the NWS Warning Forecaster Position by Klein, Associates is
now available for download from the WDTB website (see
Download section below).
The benefits of having a CTA for any domain are many. A CTA captures
how experts "think and what they know, how they organize
and structure information, and what they seek to understand better.
CTA methods describe the cognitive processes that underlie performance
of tasks and the cognitive skills needed to respond adeptly to
Klein, Associates have a history of interacting with domains
which are characterized by decision making in an environment which
is complex, uncertain, stressful, and time critical. This would
include that of firefighters, fighter pilots, oncologists, air
traffic controllers, and nuclear power plant operators. They have
also done previous research with weather forecasters. (For more
information about CTAs see: http://www.decisionmaking.com/approach/whatisCTA.html).
The project has been conducted during the last six months using
interviews with recognized experts in the field of operational
warnings. Although the scope of this project was limited based
on funds and time, those selected for the interviews capture a
subset of the expertise that exists in the field of operational
For those who are intimately familiar with warning operations,
the processes captured here will likely not reveal anything new.
For those who are not, the findings may allow a clearer picture
of what is going on with warning forecasters during severe weather
events. Other applications of a CTA include using the results
as a basis for input into software and hardware design and development,
as well as a means to help guide research and training efforts.
It is hoped that this initial project can be expanded upon in
the future to not only increase the breadth of the data set, but
also to point to areas where additional human factors research
would be beneficial.
Download: Final Report
of the CTA of the Warning Forecaster Position