Poll: More Americans See Climate Change in Weather Disasters

October 13, 2017

Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — After hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria blitzed the nation, most Americans think weather disasters are getting more severe and see global warming’s fingerprints.

A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 68 percent of Americans think weather disasters seem to be worsening, compared to 28 percent who think they are staying the same and only 4 percent who say they are less severe.

And 46 percent of those who think it’s getting worse blame man-made climate change mostly or solely for the wild weather, while another 39 percent say it’s a combination of global warming and natural variability.

“Just with all the hurricanes that are happening this year … it just seems like things are kind of mixed up,” said Kathy Weber, a 46-year-old stay-at-home mom from Menomonie, Wisconsin.

When Hurricane Nate washed ashore in the Gulf Coast earlier this month, it was one of the first storms that Greg Thompson did not evacuate for. Thompson, a retired pest control researcher in New Orleans, said “it’s pretty irrational” that people and politicians can deny global warming when the Gulf of Mexico is so much hotter than decades ago and storms seem so much more powerful.

“When so many things are happening and so many of them (storms) are intense and so many of them are once-in-500-year levels and they’re all occurring, it’s a pretty good sign global warming is having an effect,” Thompson said.

Susan Cutter, who directs the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, said she’s not surprised by the poll results.

“How can you not” notice it, Cutter said. “The public sees the connection because they see it happening to their neighbors, themselves. They see it on television. And they’re not responding to a particular political constituency.”

Cutter and other experts say from a science perspective, it is clear that the United States is getting more extreme weather and climate change plays a role.

This year so far has seen 15 weather disasters that cost $1 billion or more, tied for the most in the first nine months of the year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An analysis of 167 years of federal storm data by The Associated Press finds that no 30-year period in history has seen this many major hurricanes, this many days of those storms spinning in the Atlantic, or this much overall energy generated by those powerful storms.

Even though she went down to help Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas as a missionary and midwife, Gwendolyn Posey of Oklahoma just doesn’t see any increase in extreme weather.

“I don’t think it’s man-made climate change,” Posey said. “It’s always changing one way or another. It’s always in flux.”

Posey points to a record 12-year period during which no major hurricane hit the United States. During that time period, Atlantic hurricanes were still more active than normal, but didn’t hit the mainland United States.

“Anytime the government starts ramming things down my throat, I immediately think it’s wrong,” said Posey, a mother of 10, farmer and doctor of natural medicine. “Truth speaks for itself.”

AP via New York Post:

WASHINGTON — It’s not just this year. The monster Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Jose and Lee that have raged across the Atlantic are contributing to what appears to be the most active period for major storms on record.

And the busiest part of hurricane season isn’t even over.

An analysis of 167 years of federal storm data by the Associated Press found that no 30-year period in history has seen this many major hurricanes, this many days of those whoppers spinning in the Atlantic, or this much overall energy generated by those powerful storms.

Scientists caution it is too soon to draw conclusions from the data and they don’t say the intense activity confirms a trend. Storms in the distant past may have gone unnoticed, which could make earlier generations appear quieter than they were. Some scientists say past hurricane data is so weak that it’s impossible to connect the recent activity to global warming.

But more intense storms are what scientists expect to see as the planet’s climate changes because warmer ocean water is fuel for hurricanes. And they say it is important to better understand this current intense period to save lives and prevent worse future destruction.


9 Responses to “Poll: More Americans See Climate Change in Weather Disasters”

  1. […] via Poll: More Americans See Climate Change in Weather Disasters | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  2. Ron Voisin Says:

    It’s critically important that these broken lines of thinking keep being espoused because if they weren’t we’d instead grow the planetary GDP very much faster.

  3. wpNSAlito Says:

    It annoys the hell out of me when people conflate
    – hurricanes that landfall in the USA vs. total hurricanes
    – “hurricane” activity vs. tropical cyclone activity

    When Harvey came along, people were saying it was the first major hurricane in over a decade, as if hurricanes that didn’t affect the US don’t count.

    And tropical cyclones called “typhoons” or “cyclones” don’t count because they use a different word than “hurricane”.

    • redskylite Says:

      That’s very true, deadly typhoons causing death and destruction in Asia barely get a mention in our media, similar to deadly bombings like the one in Mogadishu today (30+ dead and countless injured). Strange tribal post truth world evolving, hope things improve soon.

      • lesliegraham1 Says:

        A couple of years out of date now but still interesting:

        “…2015 Sets a New Record for Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes and Typhoons

        A record 20 hurricanes or typhoons have reached Category 4 or 5 strength in the Northern Hemisphere this year.

        The record was broken on Saturday when Koppu became the nineteenth storm to reach this intensity prior to slamming into the Philippines as a super typhoon. This was then followed by Champi on Sunday, which became a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds also estimated to be Category 4 strength.

        The old record for the Northern Hemisphere was 18 set in 2004, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and blogger for wunderground.com. For perspective, an average of 12.5 Category 4 or 5 storms have been recorded during the 1990-2014 period, Klotzbach added….”


    • lesliegraham1 Says:

      Ten of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record have occurred since year 2000.

      Top 10 Most Active Hurricane Seasons

      Seasons with the most named storms, 1851 – Present

      Rank Year Number of Storms

      1. 2005 28

      2. 1933 20

      3. 2012 19

      3. 2011 19

      3. 2010 19

      3. 1995 19

      3. 1887 19

      8. 1969 18

      9. 2008 16

      9. 2003 16

      9. 1936 16

      12. 2007 15

      13. 2004 15

      14. 2001 15

      15. 2000 15


    • Jerry Falwel Says:

      When you talk about extreme weather it helps to use the same criteria to measure the damage. If the hurricane or Typhoon is somewhere else, the measurements of speed and rainfall are usually different when one looks at older records. That is why using only landfall hurricanes in the USA is a useful measurement tool to try and understand changes and claims of change.
      Here are some data from NOAA to ponder.

      You might note that the number and intensity does not seem to be increasing from 1851.`

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