Global warming skeptics cite personal weather observations as the key reason for their views

July 9, 2015 by Greta Guest

The number of Americans who believe there is evidence of global warming rose to 63 percent after a memorable winter that included record cold and snow in the Northeast and historic warmth and drought in the West, according to a University of Michigan survey.

A new report from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment showed an 8 percentage point increase in the belief in global warming from Spring 2014 and a 3 percentage point increase from last fall.

The survey is a joint effort of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at U-M's Ford School of Public Policy and the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.

"Having gathered public opinion about belief in twice a year for the last seven years allows us to link to weather data," said Barry Rabe, U-M professor of and director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.

"It allows us to see, for example, that while belief in global warming typically falls over the cold winter months, in winters with temperatures substantially above average—such as winter 2012 and winter 2015—belief in climate change actually rises."

The survey continues to find evidence that views on global warming and perceptions of weather are closely connected. Those who think global warming is occurring increasingly attribute their position to the effects of severe droughts and extreme weather in areas of the United States, while those who do not believe global warming is happening are also increasingly citing personal observation of weather as the primary factor for their position.

The spring survey marks the highest percentage—45 percent—of weather-observation reasoning among those expressing doubt in global warming since the NSEE began in 2008.

Majorities of Democrats (76 percent) and Independents (60 percent) believe there is evidence of global warming while Republicans remain divided with 45 percent who agree that is occurring and 42 percent who do not think it exists.

The random telephone survey of 751 American adults was conducted April 8-30. The had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Explore further: If global warming is real, why was it so cold and snowy last winter?

Related Stories

Two-thirds of Americans now believe global warming is real

March 5, 2013

(Phys.org) —An increasing number of Americans indicate that there is evidence of global warming, with 67 percent now expressing a belief that the planet has warmed over the past four decades, according to a University of ...

Most Americans support renewable energy standards

June 3, 2015

Despite recent attempts in many state legislatures to repeal or weaken renewable energy requirements, a University of Michigan poll finds that a majority of Americans—of every race, income and education level, and religious ...

Global warming cynics unmoved by extreme weather

November 24, 2014

What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds.

Recommended for you

Researchers pin down one source of a potent greenhouse gas

November 20, 2017

A study of a Lake Erie wetland suggests that scientists have vastly underestimated the number of places methane-producing microbes can survive—and, as a result, today's global climate models may be misjudging the amount ...

Clay mineral waters Earth's mantle from the inside

November 20, 2017

The first observation of a super-hydrated phase of the clay mineral kaolinite could improve our understanding of processes that lead to volcanism and affect earthquakes. In high-pressure and high-temperature X-ray measurements ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.