U.S. Blows Cold

by Bill Chameides | January 19th, 2010
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

Permalink | 1 comment

In 2009 the American public turned away from global warming and global warming turned away from the United States.

Consider these two facts:

  1. The American public grew more skeptical about global warming in 2009. Take a look at two polls from last year.
    • A recent Brookings Institution survey shows that the percentage of Americans who are convinced the globe is warming decreased from 72 percent in 2008 to 66 percent in 2009. A poll conducted last fall by the Pew Research Center reports a decline from 71 percent in April to 57 percent in October.
    • Of those Americans who are convinced the globe is warming, the percentage who consider the problem “very serious” has decreased from 60 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009 in the Brookings’ survey. Pew’s poll also showed a 9 percent drop in this area from 44 to 35 percent.
  2. While much of the world experienced 2009 as one of the globe’s warmest years — at this early point in the analysis, last year looks to be in a tie with the second warmest year on record (NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) or the fifth warmest(NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center) — a good portion of the central and eastern United States found 2009 to be rather chilly (see graphic below). Here are a few examples:
    • Much of the Midwest from Iowa east to Pennsylvania experienced its coldest July since 1895. (See map.)
    • As much as 39 percent of the entire nation was very cold in July. (See map.)
    • In October a series of cold fronts swept the country, leaving up to 54 percent of the contiguous United States “very cool.” (See map.)
    • All those cold fronts helped make for the snowiest October since satellite record-keeping began in 1965. (See summary.)
    • Boston’s summer got off to one of its chilliest starts in the last 100 years. (Read more.)
    • July 2009 was only the second time since 1869 that the mercury failed to reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit in June or July in Manhattan. (See summary.)

As in many things global-warming-wise, the United States appears to be out of sync with much of the rest of the world. The question I have: Is cold weather causing Americans to question global warming, or has the climate decided to blow a cold wind on a skeptical nation?

Cold temperatures were experienced through much of 2009 in the United States, but not so much in the rest of the world.

filed under: climate change, faculty, global warming, temperatures

1 Comment

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  1. Jim
    Jan 20, 2010

    It probably has something to do with the weather, but then there is also burn out. Initially people are interested in an issue when it first comes out. The longer people are exposed to information surrounding an issue, the less interested/supportive they become in/of that issue. This happens on almost everything. Something has to change about the issue or some big event has to occur for people to become interested again.

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