Extreme Weather, Climate, and Preparedness in the American Mind

This research was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication (4C). The report presents the results of a national survey, quantifying the observations and experiences of weather, perspectives on global warming's relatedness to extreme weather events, the level of preparedness for such events, and whether or not the individual uses local weather forecasts. The nationally representative survey was conducted from March 12, 2012 to March 30, 2012, with a total of 1,008 Adults (over 18 years old) interviewed.

The survey found that a large majority of Americans say they personally experienced an extreme weather event or natural disaster in the past year.  Most Americans interviewed also say the weather in the U.S. is getting worse, and many report that extreme weather in their own local area has become more frequent and damaging. Further, large majorities believe that global warming made a number of recent extreme weather events worse. However, only about a third of Americans have either a disaster emergency plan or an emergency supply kit in their homes.

Overall, 35 percent of all Americans report that they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these extreme weather events in the past year. Also, 37 percent report that someone they know personally was harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by an extreme weather event or natural disaster in the past year.

In June 2011, the George Mason University Center for Climate Change (4C) released four reports from their latest national survey on Americans' climate change and energy beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior. This series, 'Climate Change in the American Mind' can be accessed from their website.

Publication Date: March 2012

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Anthony Leiserowitz
  • Ed Maibach
  • Ed Maibach
  • Jay D. Hmielowski

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