Three Quarters of Americans Now Believe Climate Change Is Affecting the Weather

74 percent of surveyed Americans think that global warming is changing the weather

Wildfires cut across Idaho in August 2012. Photo: Aqua – MODIS / NASA Earth Observatory

The past twelve months in America have seen a wide range of unusual weather events, from an unending drought across much of the interior to a record-breaking forest fire season and one of the warmest winters on record. And that’s just for the United States. There has been a bevy of unusual and extreme events taking place worldwide.

Conducted in the shadow of this hot and dry stretch, a new survey by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has found that 74 percent of the American public now believe that global warming is changing the weather, a five percent climb over a similar poll that was conducted in March, 2012. The findings butt up against another survey, also conducted by the Yale group in March of this year, which found that 66 percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, with only 46 percent believing the shift in caused predominantly by human activities. The unusual split in opinion, with more people believing climate change is affecting the weather than believe in climate change, could just be an example of the previously noted trend that peoples’ beliefs in global warming tend to ebb and flow with the weather.

This growing belief in climate change could actually play an important role in the the coming month, as the U.S. presidential election inches ever closer. Yet another Yale survey found that, of the hotly debated “undecided” voters left in the country, 80 percent believed that global warming is taking place, with 65 percent saying it is driven largely by human activity.

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