Majority of Americans Link Extreme Weather and Climate Change


More than two-thirds of U.S. adults believe global warming made several recent extreme weather events even worse, according to a new survey.

According to the report, released by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, 82 percent of respondents said they had experienced one or more types of extreme weather events in the last year, and 35 percent said they were personally harmed either a great deal or moderately.

In the case of several high-profile weather events, a majority of respondents believe that climate change exacerbated the events, including unusually high temperatures during the past winter (72 percent), record-high temperatures last summer (70 percent), the 2011 droughts in Texas and Oklahoma (69 percent), and the Mississippi River floods during the spring of 2011 (63 percent).

“Americans may be starting to ‘internalize’ climate change,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Fifty-two percent of respondents said weather in the U.S. is getting worse, compared with 22 percent who said it is getting better.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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