Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Do Americans prefer "global warming" or "climate change"?

From today's
More people believe in “climate change” than “global warming,” according to a University of Michigan study.

And down party lines, the topic might not be as divisive as TV’s talking heads make it seem - at least, when it’s called climate change.

For the study, researchers asked a national online sample of 2,267 U.S. adults to report on whether global warming or climate change is a serious problem.
Of course, the terms are effectively synonymous during our current epoch. The climate changes because the globe is warming. (Regardless of what is causing the warming, the global climate is changing.) One cannot look at local weather for one day (or even one week) and attribute it to climate change. Okay, so we had a lot of snow this winter, and we heard the cries of, "Where's global warming when you need it?" This cry only showed how provincial the criers' view was. While we were getting snowed on, Australia was suffering from record heat waves, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and Bolivia (and likely other S.Hemisphere countries) suffered massive floods, the biggest hurricane on record hit Australia only a few weeks ago... Similarly, Ann Arbor had a relatively mild summer in 2010, so people yelled out "global warming hoax!" Meanwhile, Russia burned and the totality of the N.Hemisphere had the warmest weather on record (or at least tied for the warmest).

In a recent study at UC Berkeley, researchers found that people were more likely to report believing in the terms "GLOBAL WARMING" if they were asked when they were in a warmer condition (not outside in the sun, but also inside a warm, windowless room).
A new study finds that when people feel warmer—either because they are out in the hot sun or because they are in an overheated room—they believe in global warming more. The findings were published online Jan. 20 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

...[Risen and Critcher] found that participants answering [their] questionnaire in a heated cubicle were more likely to believe in global warming, suggesting that it was the experience of heat, not the information that it conveyed, that impacted people’s beliefs.
Too many people, IMHO, attribute feeling warm (at the moment) with the term "global warming" to make it a useful term, since it still will get cold in the winter.

The work was published in Public Opinion Quarterly by Schuldt, et al.

UPDATE: According to one report, the 2010 Russian heat wave was normal:
The intense heat wave in Russia "was mainly due to natural internal atmospheric variability," the scientists reported in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The cause in this case, they said, was a strong and long-lived blocking pattern that prevented movement of weather systems. Blocking patterns occur when the high-level jet stream directing the movement of weather develops a sharp wave pattern. This forces storms to move around an area while conditions there stagnate.

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