Perceived links between climate change and weather forecast accuracy: new barriers to tools for agricultural decision-making

Zack Guido, Sara Lopus, Kurt Waldman, Corrie Hannah, Andrew Zimmer, Natasha Krell, Chris Knudson, Lyndon Estes, Kelly Caylor, Tom Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The accuracy of weather forecasts has experienced remarkable improvements over the recent decades and is now considered important tools for developing the climate resilience of smallholder farmers, particularly as climate change upends traditional farming calendars. However, the effect of observations of climate change on the use of weather forecasts has not been studied. In an analysis of smallholder farming in Zambia, Kenya, and Jamaica, we document low weather forecast use, showing that perceptions of changes in the climate relate to views on forecast accuracy. Drawing on detailed data from Zambia, we show that weather forecast use (or not) is associated with perceptions of the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the forecast, with rates of weather forecast use far lower among those who believe climate change impacts forecast accuracy. The results suggest a novel feedback whereby climate change erodes confidence in weather forecasts. Thus, in a changing climate where improvements in weather forecasts have been made, farmers thus experience a double disadvantage whereby climate change disrupts confidence in traditional ways of knowing the weather and lowers trust in supplementary technical forecasting tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Climate change perceptions
  • Climate resilience
  • Climate-smart agriculture
  • Smallholder agriculture
  • Weather forecast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


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