Perceptions of seasonal weather are linked to beliefs about global climate change: evidence from Norway

Perceptions of seasonal weather are linked to beliefs about global climate change: evidence from... As climate change continues to alter local weather patterns, it is important to understand how people are experiencing such changes because personal experience may affect mitigation and adaptation policy preferences and behaviors. Local weather conditions are also an easily accessible source of information that, aggregated over time, may enable people to detect long-term climate trends and update their beliefs about global warming. However, motivated reasoning—the tendency to fit information to conclusions that correspond with a preexisting belief—may limit the accuracy of local weather perceptions. This paper focuses on perceptions of seasonal weather in Norway and examines evidence for motivated reasoning consistent with pre-existing beliefs about climate change, using a national panel survey combined with high-resolution seasonal climate observations. Respondents’ perceptions are sensitive to observed differences in both temperature and precipitation, but respondents are more likely to accurately perceive local precipitation than local temperature. Controlling for observed conditions, beliefs about global climate change had a large effect on perceptions of seasonal temperature, and smaller effects on perceptions of seasonal precipitation. These findings provide evidence that individual perceptions of seasonal weather are related to local conditions, but they are also likely to be motivated by beliefs about global climate change. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Climatic Change Springer Journals

Perceptions of seasonal weather are linked to beliefs about global climate change: evidence from Norway

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature
Subject
Earth Sciences; Atmospheric Sciences; Climate Change/Climate Change Impacts
ISSN
0165-0009
eISSN
1573-1480
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10584-018-2210-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As climate change continues to alter local weather patterns, it is important to understand how people are experiencing such changes because personal experience may affect mitigation and adaptation policy preferences and behaviors. Local weather conditions are also an easily accessible source of information that, aggregated over time, may enable people to detect long-term climate trends and update their beliefs about global warming. However, motivated reasoning—the tendency to fit information to conclusions that correspond with a preexisting belief—may limit the accuracy of local weather perceptions. This paper focuses on perceptions of seasonal weather in Norway and examines evidence for motivated reasoning consistent with pre-existing beliefs about climate change, using a national panel survey combined with high-resolution seasonal climate observations. Respondents’ perceptions are sensitive to observed differences in both temperature and precipitation, but respondents are more likely to accurately perceive local precipitation than local temperature. Controlling for observed conditions, beliefs about global climate change had a large effect on perceptions of seasonal temperature, and smaller effects on perceptions of seasonal precipitation. These findings provide evidence that individual perceptions of seasonal weather are related to local conditions, but they are also likely to be motivated by beliefs about global climate change.

Journal

Climatic ChangeSpringer Journals

Published: May 5, 2018

References

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