Today we are releasing the first report from our latest national survey. In Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind
, we report that:
About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years – only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.
Overall, 85 percent of Americans report that they experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, most often citing extreme high winds (60%) or an extreme heat wave (51%).
Of those Americans who experienced extreme weather events in the past year, many say they were significantly harmed. Moreover, the number who have been harmed appears to be growing (up 5 percentage points since Fall 2012 and 4 points since Spring 2012).
Over half of Americans (54%) believe it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that extreme weather will cause a natural disaster in their community in the coming year.
Americans who experienced an extreme weather event are most likely to have communicated about it person-to-person – either in person (89%) or on the phone (84%).
The report includes an Executive Summary and a breakdown of results by region and can be downloaded here:
Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind
I’ll be back in touch soon with new reports on Americans’ climate change beliefs, attitudes, support for climate and energy policies, and how Americans communicate about climate change.
As always, thanks for your support and interest in our work!
Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies