Thursday, March 1, 2012

Belief In Global Warming Rises & Warms With Weather

 Belief of global warming is warming again, after a substantial decline from 2009 to 2010,
according to polling by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College. The poll found that 62% of the public believed in the reality of global warming, a rebound from 58% in the fall of 2010.
Public belief in global warming had been declining, falling substantially from 72% in the fall of 2008 to 58% in the fall of 2010. See and

The pollsters conclude that the personal observations of Americans about the weather is a key factor influencing opinions about the reality of global warming.  Of those believing in global warming 24% pointed to warmer temperatures that they have observed and another 24% mentioned weather changes that they have experienced.  Only 9% mentioned science research as the main basis.

Political registration partially predicts ones belief in global warming.  Among Democrats, 75% accept the reality of global warming, while 47% of Republicans do. Many more rank and file Republicans accept global warming than do elected Republicans and Republican Presidential candidates.  Global warming may be example of how the Republican party has been yanked to an extreme by its activists, while many rank and file Republicans don't agree with the new party orthodoxy.

The poll was conducted in the fall of 2011, obviously before what has been a very warm winter, and so expect to see a further increase in the public acceptance of global warming in the 2012.  Indeed, this winter has been so warm that it almost met the global warming test of a central Pennsylvania Republican friend.

In his words, "I will believe in global warming when I don't shovel snow anymore."

My friend, we are getting there.


  1. I understand that Europe was having a cold winter while we were having a warm one; so, it will be interesting to see if there are fewer people in Europe accepting the reality of global warming now. That would be ironic since I read a prediction somewhere a year or so ago that a cooling of Europe will be one of the effects of global warming, due to a cutoff of the Gulf Stream.

  2. Regarding Europe's cold winter, this actually supports climate change theory. Part of the theory posits that changing climactic conditions will disrupt the "conveyor belt" of warm Atlantic water that has historically provided the British Isles/Europe with their relatively mild winters.
    See this NASA webpage:
    Quote from this site:
    "The Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current ferry huge volumes of warm salty tropical water north to the Greenland coast and to the Nordic Seas. Heat radiating off of this water helps keep the countries of northwest Europe, which are at the same latitude as Labrador and Greenland, relatively comfortable places to live. ...Many scientists, however, are warning that the North Atlantic might cool down, perhaps by the turn of the century. Paradoxically, global warming would be to blame. Rising temperatures may trigger events that could not only slow the supply of tropical water flowing north, it could disrupt the entire ocean circulation pattern."

    Be careful to note that "global warming" (as a worldwide average trend) does not necessarily mean every spot on the globe will warm up; some will cool down. That is why I personally prefer the term "climate change" because that accomodates a better understanding of the full range of disruptions (changes to rainfall patterns, extreme weather events, etc.) we can expect to experience in addition to the overall warming trend.