Study: Global warming belief tracks the weather

From the University of New Hampshire , comes this explanation of what we observe seasonally in the news, that warming events are inevitably linked to global warming.

Predicted probability of “climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities” response as a function of temperature anomaly and political party. Credit: Lawrence Hamilton and Mary Stampone/UNH

Climate change beliefs of independent voters shift with the weather, UNH study finds

Sydney, AUS – There’s a well-known saying in New England that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute. When it comes to independent voters, those weather changes can just as quickly shift beliefs about climate change.

New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that the climate change beliefs of independent voters are dramatically swayed by short-term weather conditions. The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Carsey Institute, and Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography and the New Hampshire state climatologist. The research is presented in the article “Blowin’ in the Wind: Short-Term Weather and Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change” in the American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Climate, and Society.

“We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held — literally blowing in the wind. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to,” Hamilton and Stampone say.

Hamilton and Stampone used statewide data from about 5,000 random-sample telephone interviews conducted on 99 days over two and a half years (2010 to 2012) by the Granite State Poll. They combined the survey data with temperature and precipitation indicators derived from New Hampshire’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) station records. Survey respondents were asked whether they thought climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities. Alternatively, respondents could state that climate change is not happening, or that it is happening but mainly for natural reasons.

Lawyers and engineers that deal with real estate in Sydney report unseasonably warm or cool temperatures on the interview day and previous day seemed to shift the odds of respondents believing that humans are changing the climate (similar to N.H.). However, when researchers broke these responses down by political affiliation (Democrat, Republican or independent), they found that temperature had a substantial effect on climate change views mainly among independent voters.

“Independent voters were less likely to believe that climate change was caused by humans on unseasonably cool days and more likely to believe that climate change was caused by humans on unseasonably warm days. The shift was dramatic. On the coolest days, belief in human-caused climate change dropped below 40 percent among independents. On the hottest days, it increased above 70 percent,” Hamilton says.

New Hampshire’s self-identified independents generally resemble their counterparts on a nationwide survey that asked the same questions, according to the researchers. Independents comprise 18 percent of the New Hampshire estimation sample, compared with 17 percent nationally. They are similar with respect to education, but slightly older, and more balanced with respect to gender.

In conducting their analysis, the researchers took into account other factors such as education, age, and sex. They also made adjustments for the seasons, and for random variation between surveys that might be caused by nontemperature events.


The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

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January 24, 2013 10:44 am

” ….. agree with the scientific consensus ……. .” Talk about leading the evidence.
But MSM have more and more to answer for in the, hopefully not too distant, future, because that is where almost everyone gets their information from.

January 24, 2013 10:47 am

You’ll have to excuse me for being a bit suspicious of a graph where the all the data points appear to lie on a straight line.

January 24, 2013 10:51 am

The Warming Alarmists (including those in the mass media) continue to use the daily “extreme weather” as a reason to promote their beliefs that man-made warming is 100% responsible for the planet’s weather as well as its long-term climate, both of which rest on very shaky grounds. Of course they go into :”denial” mode themselves when the weather becomes “inconvenient” (i.e. too cold to “prove” warming.)

Alan A.
January 24, 2013 10:58 am

“(…) tend to agree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change”. *Sigh*. Am I ever tired of that ‘consensus’ myth that’s thrown in with every piece there is to read. There maybe is consensus within the Team and their politics, but not in the scientific circles in a broader term. Climate studies, since they have become a nest of activism, hardly make the cut as serious science.

January 24, 2013 10:58 am

In conducting their analysis, the researchers took into account other factors such as education, age, and sex. They also made adjustments for the seasons, and for random variation between surveys that might be caused by nontemperature events.

Paywalled so we can’t see what “took into account” means. Why are independents so easily swayed? And I’d like to see actual data rather than a predicted probability graph. This is another sub-par press release AFAIC.

January 24, 2013 11:03 am

When you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.

Tim Walker
January 24, 2013 11:05 am

Wow, that doesn’t say much for the intelligence of independents. Was I really that stupid as an independent.

Bloke down the pub
January 24, 2013 11:22 am

So you have a presidential election a couple of days after an hurricane and the candidate who is pro cagw gets a boost in the polls. Mother nature loves a joke, which is just as well.

January 24, 2013 11:23 am

Shouldn’t this study be called something like ‘The way single cellular organisms react to different stimuli’ !!
or perhaps – ‘How to identify which people are walking thoughtless morons using a study of the general population’
..just saying……….

January 24, 2013 11:36 am

It could also be said that those “independents” probably wouldn’t know climate change, global warming or cooling, sea levels, high tide or low, or even which way the wind was blowing at any particular time of day even if they all occurred at once and smacked them on the “tochas”. Then again that’s probably true for most citizens, whatever their tribe, whose priorities mostly never extend further than “how can I get through the day without f…ing up tomorrow.” Easy game really.

Jeff L
January 24, 2013 11:40 am

This study certainly confirms that CAGW is now a purely political issue & that few even care about the underlying science.
What would be more interesting is to understand the psychology / sociology behind these results. Why is it that conservatives are inherently optimistic ( generally anti-alarmists, regardless of what the issue may be) and thus don’t think the government needs to save them from anything while liberal are inherently pessimistic (generally taking an alarmist / worst case scenario point of view, regardless of the issue) and feel that the government must save them / humanity ???

john robertson
January 24, 2013 11:43 am

No wonder the media propaganda is so blatant right now, their pollsters are telling them they are losing the independents.
So conservative people want to see some evidence.Belief is not enough.
Liberals believe before evidence, and are resistant to contrary evidence.
Independents are not paying attention, don’t really care either way, right now.
For this scam to end, these nonparticipants need to engage,that will happen, for there is nothing like a hit in the pocketbook to get people engaged and enraged.

January 24, 2013 11:49 am

Those graph lines seem awfully straight to be representing real data. Are you sure this isn’t a spoof of some kind?

January 24, 2013 11:53 am

This might explain how Frankenstorm flipped about 4% of the vote…
Election Day 2012: An ill wind blew and the fat man sang!

January 24, 2013 12:00 pm

Quote from Oct 2012 article ( ):
” … According to Hamilton, across major science organizations, national academies, and scientific reviews there is a broad consensus about climate change, and agreement on certain key observations such as the global increase in CO2 levels, or the decline of Arctic ice. He turned some of those key observations into questions on public opinion surveys, to map out which facts have reached public awareness.
…. “People who agree with the scientific consensus that climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities, are more likely to know what the term ‘greenhouse effect’ means. They also are more likely to give accurate answers to questions about whether, in recent decades, the late-summer area of Arctic sea ice has decreased, CO2 levels in the air have increased, melting land or sea ice could have greater effects on sea level, and volcanoes or human activities released more CO2,” Hamilton says. … ”
At least we know where the good doctor stands on the issue.

January 24, 2013 12:14 pm

Who gathered that data? Zorro?

January 24, 2013 12:16 pm

Well, maybe.
Another cutesy social science study that somehow sounds too ‘good’ (i.e. fits a preconceived pattern too well) to be true.
And what does it actually tell us about attitude and belief – in relation to global warming? Does it not entail a rather bouncy postmodernist view of human judgement?
I won’t dismiss it entirely, but I’m more than a tad suspicious.

Myron Mesecke
January 24, 2013 12:22 pm

“There’s a well-known saying in New England that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute.”
I thought this was a well known saying here in Texas?
So Republicans are practical and able to keep an open mind and look at all the information, Democrats are lemmings which follow what they are told and Independents are wishy washy?

David L.
January 24, 2013 12:23 pm

If they are able to change the meme to “Extreme weather” then the Independent curve woudn’t be a line but a parabola centered at zero: even low temperatures will push up the predicted probability for those folks.

Robert Jacobs
January 24, 2013 12:41 pm

I think, as has been noted, that this supports the effect “Sandy” had on the recent 2012 U.S. election. Most all polls in the couple weeks before the election had “Independents” going heavily for Romney. Fair weather friends, indeed.

January 24, 2013 1:03 pm

Loved the Zorro comment !!!

Pamela Gray
January 24, 2013 1:06 pm

I don’t want to be a registered Independent any more

January 24, 2013 1:11 pm

As interesting as I find this (and it’s been shown in other environmental sociology studies that people tend to be biased in their observations of climate, and think that individually they can observe trends an individual can’t possibly observe) — I’d be really curious to see the actual data. Those are some nicely cooperative predicted probabilities right there! It almost reads like a very subtle Onion spoof.

G P Hanner
January 24, 2013 1:15 pm

So. That’s what higher education calls research. A few polls. I used to play with pollsters by asking them if I had to give honest answers.
Assuming that plot actually is valid, I would say that Republicans are skeptics, Independents are sheep, and Democrats are deep into a religious experience.

Bruce Cobb
January 24, 2013 1:39 pm

Now hold on. This doesn’t say anything in particular about the intelligence of Independents, but rather describes how the average voter who responds to polls comes to a particular viewpoint. People in general are lazy, and tend to go with the herd. Thus, Democrats tend to Believe in CAGW because it is part of the Democrat zeitgeist, and Republicans disbelieve for the same reason. Independents have no herd though. One would think that that very fact would behoove them to research the subject in order to come up with their own conclusion, but one would be wrong. Laziness holds sway. Thus, they go whichever way the wind blows. It is depressing.

January 24, 2013 2:21 pm

So now we understand why CAGW proponents focus so much on the message rather than the science.

Steve C
January 24, 2013 2:37 pm

As an independently minded old soft Leftie*, I take great pleasure in being off the bottom of your belief scale, whatever the temperature.
* And if you think this self-description makes me some kind of over-centralising, all-controlling fascist type, you couldn’t be more wrong.

January 24, 2013 2:44 pm

Ms. Gray, say’s
“I don’t want to be a registered Independent any more”
Well what other political party is there here in Oregon to belong to. Not the Dem’s, nor Republicans. The green party does not excite me. I thought about the Libertarian party, but no one ran for office here in Benton County. The other party’s do not hold much sway. I’ll remain an Independent for better or worst.

January 24, 2013 3:16 pm

Ah, the line for the democrats is inverted… this seems to indicate that more democrats believe in global warming when the temperature anomaly is negative….. Does this mean the survey makes no sense, or democrats?

Gail Combs
January 24, 2013 4:40 pm

Without looking at the actual poll questions and how the data was ‘adjusted’ I would not believe this poll. As an independent I have never believed in CAGW and just barely believe it has warmed over the last few decades.
The independents are the voters who swing an election so these are the voters the media wants to sway BTW.

January 24, 2013 4:52 pm

So the Dems believe the scientists, the GOPers believe in the blogs, sort of like the split for evolution actually. But the independents only believe in yesterdays weather. As in the independents beliefs in politics, as in their belief in global warming…not too unexpected.

G P Hanner
January 24, 2013 4:56 pm

Aw. C’mon, Bruce Cobb. You’re over analyzing.

January 24, 2013 5:32 pm

In their next study they establish that kittens are cute and fat people eat too much food.

January 24, 2013 5:59 pm

Myron Mesecke says:
January 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

“There’s a well-known saying in New England that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute.”
I thought this was a well known saying here in Texas?

Apparently it’s been said by just about anyone who is someone. is a good collection, but he credits to TX “If you don’t like the weather in Texas… Just blink!”
And next door, Will Rogers once quipped, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”
Mark Twain is credited with saying that about Buffalo and New England.

What I say is:

The weather in the midwest is more extreme, the weather in New England is more variable.

While Twain heaped praise upon New England thunderstorms, “The lightning there is peculiar; it is so convincing, that when it strikes a thing it doesn’t leave enough of that thing behind for you to tell whether– Well, you’d think it was something valuable, and a Congressman had been there,” we had much better thunderstorms in northeast Ohio and thunder bouncing off the hills around Pittsburgh, PA.
Twain did say “Every year they kill a lot of poets for writing about “Beautiful Spring.” Spring is a major disappointment here, eaten at one end by winter and April snow storms, and at the other by June heatwaves. Come here in the Fall, we have a couple days that are beyond perfect and make up for the entire rest of the year.
Do read that Twain link to – it’s his famous speech to the New England Society’s Seventy-First Annual Dinner, New York City, Dec. 22, 1876.

Bill H
January 24, 2013 6:57 pm

Fair weather friends and foul weather enemies…
Reminds me of people who lick their finger and stick it in the air to see which way the political wind is blowing before making a decision.. Independents is just a new word for “Wishy Washy” or “Squishy” people… these are the ones who think government should tell them what to do as well..

Gunga Din
January 24, 2013 8:13 pm

David Middleton says:
January 24, 2013 at 11:53 am
This might explain how Frankenstorm flipped about 4% of the vote…
“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” Thomas Sowell
I guess ‘Johnny’ is now over 18.

January 24, 2013 8:39 pm

You know what happens to people that walk the middle of the road……..

January 24, 2013 9:03 pm

Sure doesn’t say much for self identifying independents. Pamela Grey and I were once the only 2 conservative Democrats remaining on the left coast and then she went independent! LoL 😎
Welcome back Pam?
AGW has been a lie for 40 years and it still is. pg

January 24, 2013 9:18 pm

Climate science is strange. First we learn that climate is controlled by future CO2 levels, and now peoples belief in global warming seem to control the weather. It is a scientific field of its own, climate science fiction.

January 24, 2013 9:48 pm

What I take away from that graph is how successful the Democrat-Republican false dichotomy has been in dividing people in this country without encouraging them to actually think. It really makes me sad. This country is a shadow of what it once was…

January 24, 2013 9:59 pm

Down under, the doyens of post normal climate science find your err…cold snaps ironic, but all the rest is naturally confirmatory dudes-
Perhaps we dudes are all living in the Irony Age?

January 24, 2013 10:00 pm

@Gunga Din:
Great Thomas Sowell quote. I’ll remember that.
I remeber Thomas Sowell debating against Michael Herrington on Milton Freedman’s Free To Choose. 1980. It is worth a reviewing – it is now on YouTube.

January 24, 2013 10:10 pm

Duh. And that is the reason the climate debate has devolved to a political campaign. No one ever went broke…

January 24, 2013 10:51 pm

You forget that over longer periods of time such as years, these factors become insignificant (will not affect beliefs), especially as there will be no change in weather/extreme events, in fact it will promote skepticism

David Cage
January 25, 2013 1:40 am

Even the climate believers know that which is why they deliberately select to create record high temperatures and ignore factors that might reduce them. We have been ridiculed for at least two decades for suggesting that urban heating effect was significant. In the Australian record temperatures they are ignoring that the sagging roofs on the burnt out cars say temperatures were above six hundred degrees for some time, this in all probability over hundreds of thousands of square miles. They then quote the temperatures in the same region within less than a hundred miles as accurate to less than a degree in making comparisons with previous ones. Are they really so silly or just plain dishonest?

January 25, 2013 5:50 am

This doesn’t speak well of Independents. Of which I am one. Good thing election day is in November in case this CAGW nonsense were to appear on a ballot.

January 25, 2013 5:55 am

Bill H sez: “Independents is just a new word for “Wishy Washy” or “Squishy” people… these are the ones who think government should tell them what to do as well..”
Come on Bill. That describes progressives.
Independents such as myself are libertarian. Hardly the type to jump a band wagon. They didn’t include me in these surveys.

Silver Ralph
January 25, 2013 7:36 am

G P Hanner says: January 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm
Assuming that plot actually is valid, I would say that Republicans are skeptics, Independents are sheep, and Democrats are deep into a religious experience.
Well, Republicans already have their ‘deep religious experience’, which is why the fast-living George Bush jr. was forced to have ‘flash of inspiration’ on the road to the White House.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are moving away from religious experiences, but: “When people stop believing in a god, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything.” (G K Chesterton). Hence the devout belief in the new Climate-Warming-Change-Weather-Global-Extremes deity (which retains the bizarre doctrine of Original Sin – a nice touch, that!).
(Did I get this religion’s title correct? Or did it change again, while I was out walking the dog in the snow??)

January 25, 2013 5:23 pm

@SilverRalph: You’re right in being cautious. The name of the religion has in fact changed again. The crisis is now called “Climate Destabilization”, and the net result of eliminating breathing will be a “Stable Climate”. What the Carbon Cult accomplishes with its mantras and magic spells is now called “Re-stabilizing the Climate.”
Perfectly Orwellian, of course. The problem we’ve got in this part of the cycle (same as in the 1930s when we were in this phase before) is specifically and exactly an OVERLY STABLE climate. Hot stays in one place too long, cold stays in one place too long, dry stays too long, wet stays too long. What we should be hoping for is a RETURN to INSTABILITY. And all we need to do is wait. Nature always turns.

Gail Combs
January 25, 2013 6:15 pm

Bill H says: @ January 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm
…. Independents is just a new word for “Wishy Washy” or “Squishy” people… these are the ones who think government should tell them what to do as well..
NO, As an Independent I know both parties are bought and paid for and I try to figure out which candidate will do the least amount of damage.
Top Senate Democrat: bankers “own” the U.S. Congress
It is those who fall for the ‘Dog and Pony’ show put on for our benefit who are “Wishy Washy” or “Squishy” people. They are treating politics as they would treat their favorite sports team and are completely blind to the corruption in both parties.
Also I am an independent because I am not a ‘follower’

Tony Mach
January 25, 2013 11:22 pm

This graph looks like it has been generated with a graphics software, not with a statistics software. And the same goes for the underlying data – not a chance this data is the result of properly conducted telephone interviews.
And what are those grey areas supposed to be anyway? They aren’t error bars, that’s for sure.
In conducting their analysis, the researchers took into account other factors such as education, age, and sex. They also made adjustments for the seasons, and for random variation between surveys that might be caused by nontemperature events.
Ah, it is adjusted and homogenized data. That explains a lot.
It is amazing how far researcher with their confirmation bias (if it is the right bias!) can get in soft sciences like sociology, economics or climate science. Using such a standard in physics, it would not have taken us decades (and an accelerater the size and value of a small country) to look for the Higgs Particle. We could have “confirmed” the Higgs Boson a long time ago – “Because we know it is there!”©™ Simply using the same confirmation bias as these soft sciences, theoretical physics would have been off by a huge margin with regards to the mass of the Higgs particle, but they would have “found” it long long ago, no doubt.

john robertson
January 27, 2013 4:18 pm

Of course polls are ever so accurate, I always refuse to respond and invite the telephone ones to listen to dial tone.So I know views such as mine never make it into any polls.
The more individualistic you are the less likely your point of view can be polled.
Yet the press and the pollies are ever seduced by the results, hence the 97% meme.

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