In a new report, titled "Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind" has a bit of good news for those of us who see the climate destabilization and warming worsening. The new report is based on a nationally representative survey jointly conducted by George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication in Fairfax, Virginia and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication in New Haven, Conn.
For the study, 1,045 participants over age 18 were interviewed between April 8 and April 15. The researchers report a 95 percent confidence level, with a total average margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. This new study was funded by the Surdna Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.
Here is the good news they discovered according to this new nationally representative survey that measures the pulse of American sentiment on climate change:
Two out of three Americans say weather in the country has worsened over the past several years, with only one in 10 saying the weather has been improving.
More than half of Americans think global warming is affecting weather in the United States.
Americans also have strong views about the link between global warming and extreme weather. 46 percent of Americans believe climate change exacerbated the effects of Superstorm Sandy, which battered the Northeast in October 2012.
Nearly 50 percent of the population believes global warming made the droughts that plagued the Midwest and the Great Plains last year more severe.
"Americans are continuing to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather in the United States," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. "They're associating climate change with some of the major events that we experienced last year, like the ongoing drought."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named 2012 the warmest year on record, with every contiguous U.S. state registering above-average annual temperatures for the year. Now half of Americans also believe global warming was to blame for last year's record-breaking temperatures.
Furthermore, 85 percent of Americans said they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, ranging from extreme heat (51 percent) to extreme high winds (60 percent).
Concern about the potential impacts of extreme weather does not appear to be dissipating. More than half of Americans (54 percent) believe extreme weather is "very" or "somewhat likely" to cause a natural disaster in their local area in the coming year.