Public opinion on climate change unduly influenced by recent weather, Rabe says

September 3, 2012

Whether it's a record-breaking heat wave or an exceptionally snowy winter, the public often lets seasonal weather unduly influence their belief in climate change, Barry G. Rabe told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The article, "Record Summer Heat Shifts Public Opinion on Global Warming," reported findings from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change (NSAPOCC) that showed belief in climate change has oscillated following unseasonable weather cycles. Such observations oversimplify the long-term analysis required to prove climate change, however.

"Some people think climate change is gradually turning up the thermostat around the world," Rabe said. "And that's just not true."

The NSAPOCC, which began in 2008, is directed by Rabe and Christopher Borick, a professor at Muhlenberg College.