Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind

A new survey from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication looks at Americans' perceptions of extreme weather events and their perceived relationship to global warming.


As an update to a report produced last spring, the survey investigates U.S. public opinion on the connection between global warming and extreme weather, as well as individuals' observations and personal experiences with extreme weather events, such as the heat waves and droughts during the summer of 2012.

  • A "large and growing majority" of Americans say that climate change is affecting the weather in the United States.
  • Majorities say climate change has made recent extreme weather events worse, particularly record high temperatures this summer, and that weather in the U.S. has been getting worse over the past several years.
  • A majority of Americans saw that heat waves are more common in their local area (especially in the Northeast and Midwest and an increasing number of individuals in the South and West).
  • Half of Americans (especially those in the Midwest) say that droughts have become more common in their local area over the past few decades, an increase of 5 points since last spring.
  • One in five Americans say that heat waves have impacted their health, property and/or finances in the past year.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user CraneStation


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