Move over, polar bears: Climate change has a new symbol

Climatechange has a new symbol, and it’s not melting ice floes orcharismatic megafauna Last week, scientists at Yale University and the University of Westminster published an analysis revealing that Americans significantly link climate change with real-life, actually-happening weather condition And, provided the crazy heat waves, wild hurricanes, and downright bizarre disasters 2018 has currently brought us, individuals are most likely considering climate change a lot more.

Researchers asked study participants what their knee-jerk, leading of mind associations were with the expressions “climate change” and “global warming.” In 2003, when the study started, lots of people envisioned melting polar ice and glaciers.

That was all well and good, Anthony Leiserowitz, coauthor of the analysis and director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, informs Livescience.Tech “But for all of the millions of Americans who have that image come to mind, none of them live on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, in Antarctica, or next to a glacier,” he states. “It reinforces the sense that this is far away.”

But that’s starting tochange In the previous years, the analysis reveals, the variety of associations of climate change with weather condition has quadrupled “It’s now one of the highest or most likely first associations that people have,” Leiserowitz states.

He associates this change in part to the advancement of tasks like Climate Matters, a program run by not-for-profit Climate Central,which trains TV meteorologists to incorporate climate change data into their forecasts The program landed in the news recently when a group of Republican senators– consisting of well-known climate denier James Inhofe– called it a kind of “propagandizing” and aimed to get the National Science Foundation to defund it. Classic.

Denier problems aside, research study reveals that the general public trusts regional TELEVISION characters more than nearly anybody when it concerns climate problems. And, with a quarter of the nation’s meteorologists registered in the program, they’re getting the word out about increasing temperature levels– in some cases through weird fashion statements.

There’s still a long method to go. Major TELEVISION news broadcasts still barely ever bring up climate change, even when reporting on low-hanging fruit like heat waves and cyclones. But researchers are likewise delving into the fray.

A years or more back, a lot of researchers would state that “no individual weather event can be attributed to climate change.” That’s still mostly true, however with a twist. The science of extreme weather attribution permits scientists to develop just how much most likely an occasion was because of human-induced climate change– by comparing designed worlds with and without anthropogenic emissions.

Scientists have actually utilized this technique on heat waves in Europe, the California drought, and just recently, the record rains related to Hurricane Harvey

“Big extreme weather disasters are one of those times where Americans all collectively focus on an issue or set of events that have a direct connection to climate change,”Leiserowitz states. “They’re teachable moments.”

As for polar bears? “As a communications icon, it’s pretty much tapped,” Leiserowitz states. “We’ve got to expand the tent — and that means helping people connect to this issue for reasons that might be quite different from yours.”

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