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Growing Majority Say U.S. Weather Is Getting Worse, Nearly 6 In 10 Say Global Warming Is Affecting Our Weather

By Joe Romm on May 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

"Growing Majority Say U.S. Weather Is Getting Worse, Nearly 6 In 10 Say Global Warming Is Affecting Our Weather"

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A new public opinion survey finds nearly two thirds of Americans say the weather has gotten worse in recent years.

The survey by Yale and George Mason Universities, “Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind April 2013” also found that nearly six in ten understand that global warming is affecting our weather.

Last month, Gallup’s polling confirmed that the public’s understanding and concern about global warming is on the rise. In February, a poll released by the Brookings Institution showed a 7 percent increase in the number of Americans who say that the planet is warming — with that increase influenced by extreme weather events.

This isn’t really so surprising given that the last two years have brought a stunning series of extreme weather events: two record heat waves, an historic drought, above-average destructive wildfires, and two powerful hurricanes that slammed into the East Coast. In 2012, the U.S. experienced the most extreme year for weather ever recorded, according to NOAA’s Climate Extremes Index.

The world’s largest reinsurance firm, Munich Re, released a report in October concluding that the growing number of weather extremes are a “strong indication of climate change”:

Climate­-driven changes are already evident over the last few decades for severe thunderstorms, for heavy precipitation and flash flood­ing, for hurricane activity, and for heatwave, drought and wild­-fire dynamics in parts of North America.”

“In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades. Previously, there had not been such a strong chain of evidence. If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing,” said Peter Höppe, the head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit.

At the same time, non-climatic events (earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis) have hardly changed, as the figure shows.

So our weather is getting more extreme, thanks in large part to climate change and, NOAA’s latest research confirms, to warming-driven Arctic ice loss as well. And the public has noticed. Now we just need our political leadership to notice.

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16 Responses to Growing Majority Say U.S. Weather Is Getting Worse, Nearly 6 In 10 Say Global Warming Is Affecting Our Weather

  1. Superman1 says:

    So what? These polls are irrelevant. They require no commitments or follow-up actions of any sort. Ask the people what non-essential fossil fuel uses they’d be willing to give up, and you’ll get a better picture of reality. Better yet, examine their lifestyles and voting records, to really see how low climate change sits in their priorities.

    • SecularAnimist says:

      Superman1 wrote: “So what? These polls are irrelevant.”

      Actually, it’s your baseless, unsupported, evidence-free assertions about public opinion that are irrelevant.

      Where does YOUR electricity come from, Superman1? Because unless it is 100 percent wind or solar generated, then YOUR use of a computer to post your repetitive defeatist diatribes here is surely a “non-essential fossil fuel use”.

      • BobbyL says:

        I hope this blog uses servers powered by solar. I think this stuff is archived indefinitely.

      • Superman1 says:

        These polls fulfill the political agendas of their sponsors and the political agendas of those who cite them; that is their only value. The only polls I believe are the outputs of the instruments that track the continually increasing global CO2 emissions, the continually increasing CO2 atmospheric concentration, and, oh yeah, the .01% of the American people who participated in the 18 February climate rally.

      • Superman1 says:

        “repetitive defeatist diatribes”. As I posted on 30 April “I have yet to see a proposal or plan from Secular that would keep us under the temperature ceiling required to avoid the possibility of runaway. All we ever get are the good words, but absolutely no evidence that the plan will keep us from going over the cliff. Take a hard look at his response, if one is forthcoming, and see whether it specifies how the temperature ceiling will be maintained.” Your arm-waving and fantasy are the essence of true defeatism!

  2. Daniel Coffey says:

    This demonstrates that ordinary experience is telling people that something is happening. Now its key to explain in simple terms why things are happening, and to stick with it. The science tells us where we are going, and thus gives us the power to predict the future.

  3. BobbyL says:

    I don’t find the chart on natural catastrophes in North America that convincing because it doesn’t show any data from before 1980. I would like to see data going back at least to 1900 to see if there is an increased trend over the long term. Also, it is unclear what the difference is between a meteorological event and climatological event without any definitions.

  4. Bill D. says:

    Too bad this isn’t a political issue and, even if it were, the preferences of the small minority of Americans whose fortunes depend on preserving a business-as-usual approach would still prevail. We’re heading directly for the cliff and we’re stepping on the gas at the same time.

  5. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I backed Old Ma Nature against Uncle Rupe and his friends. Megalomania can only get you so far, ME

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘…the paths of glory lead but to the grave’. Soon, Rupe, soon. Say hello to the handbaggage for us. Help the old thing out with the furnace stoking.

  6. Raul M. says:

    Ozone Layer Depletion: Effects and Causes of Ozone Depletion
    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ozone-layer-depletion-effects-and-causes-of-ozone-depletion.html

    An interesting problem with ozone depletion is the loss of plankton. The plankton don’t have protective layers and the UV rays go into the water.

  7. Mark Haag says:

    What’s more important? Getting more people to complete a survey saying they believe in climate change, or getting the people who already believe in it to commit to fighting it?

    WHy are we putting our power in other people’s hands?

    When are we going in the streets?

    • Superman1 says:

      The first step in solving a problem is to identify it correctly. If the climate changer problem is based on your neighbors wanting to live an energy intensive lifestyle enabled by ‘cheap’ fossil fuels, how do you ‘fight’ that? If you ‘fight’ the suppliers, you may feel good, but you’re missing the problem.

  8. SecularAnimist says:

    Superman1 wrote: “I have yet to see a proposal or plan from Secular that would keep us under the temperature ceiling required to avoid the possibility of runaway.”

    Of course, there can be no such plan, since we have no idea when or exactly how we might reach conditions that would trigger an unstoppable “runaway” scenario. Indeed, we may have already passed that point, and just don’t know it yet.

    That’s why the ONLY “plan” that matters is a plan to rapidly phase out ALL greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, with the steepest reductions front-loaded. That means targeting the largest emissions sources that can be phased out most quickly and easily and at the lowest cost.

    Eliminating the outright WASTE of nearly 60 percent of the USA’s primary energy supply is one of the first targets to go after, and eliminating ALL fossil fueled electricity generation is another. Both can be done easily, at low cost (and indeed with huge economic benefits), and VERY quickly (within 10 years).

    Which is exactly what I have advocated — and exactly what you, for reasons you keep to yourself, consistently oppose, disparage and denigrate.