Study: daily perceptions of temperature affect individuals’ global warming beliefs

From the Weather is Not Climate department and Northwestern University comes this new study published in the Journal of the American Meteorological Society that takes on the psychology of “hot days” leading to people thinking that global warming is occurring, or not. If find it interesting, at least on the surface, but unfortunately it is behind a paywall. However, the lead author has kindly made a draft copy available on his university website which you can access here.

No AccessThe Conditional Nature of the Local Warming Effect

James N. Druckman, Richard M. Shafranek



The local warming effect occurs when perceived deviations in the day’s temperature affect individuals’ global warming beliefs. When people perceive the day to be warmer than usual, they tend to overestimate the number of warm days throughout the year, and to report increased belief in and worry about global warming. For many, this is normatively concerning because a single day’s perceived temperature fluctuation is not representative of longer-term, large-scale climate patterns. It thus makes for a poor basis for global warming judgments. Recent work shows that the local warming effect might disappear when people receive a reminder to think about weather patterns over the past year (i.e., a correction). This paper employs a survey experiment that extends past research by exploring the generalizability, conditionality, and durability of the corrective information. It identifies the conditions under which a local warming effect is more or less likely to occur.

This part is interesting, becuase it clearly shows that outlets like WUWT can have an impact in keeping people thinking when we publish reminders about weather and climate not being the same:

The local warming effect may not always occur, however. For example, Druckman  (2015) presents suggestive evidence that the effect may disappear when people receive a  reminder to think about over-time temperature patterns. Druckman’s results show that prompting people to consider weather fluctuations over time can sever the connection between perceptions of the present day’s temperature deviation and both impressions of the last year’s temperature trends and global warming beliefs. However, Druckman conducted his study on a young sample at a single location, on an uncharacteristically warm day, following a near record-cold winter. Thus, many questions remain. Just how generalizable is this corrective effect? Does the occurrence of the local warming effect vary based on individual differences? Does the impact of a corrective prompt sustain over time?

This paper presents an experimental study that addresses each of these questions. It first presents data that re-tests the impact of the corrective prompt, with a more heterogeneous sample across multiple locations, and with respect to an additional dependent variable beyond belief in and concern about global warming – specifically, beliefs about the role of humans in causing global warming (see, e.g., Hamilton and Stampone 2013). The expectation is that the prompt will have the same corrective impact on this additional measure. Indeed, the psychological process underlying Druckman’s (2015) findings should also occur here. Without the prompt, individuals tend to substitute readily available direct sensory experience (i.e., perceived daily temperature fluctuations) for more diagnostic but less accessible information (i.e., over-time temperature trends) – a pattern of behavior similar to the “end-heuristic” observed by Healy and Lenz (2014). In other words, people tend to engage in attribute substitution (see Kahneman and Frederick 2002). The prompt makes over-time temperature patterns more accessible, meaning people do not rely on perceptions of today’s temperature deviation in forming their global warming beliefs. The prediction then is: relative to people who do not receive a prompt to consider over-time temperature patterns, people who receive such a prompt will be significantly less likely to base their global warming attitudes on their perceptions of today’s temperature deviation, all else constant (hypothesis 1).

h/t to Dr. Judith Curry on Twitter

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October 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Okay, so we can average in the responses in January.

george e. smith
Reply to  Resourceguy
October 11, 2016 7:09 pm

So in my area (Si Valley) we have weeks where the daily fluctuation in Temperature from high to low, is greater than the entire planet range that has been in effect for the past 600 million years.
And yes; when I get up in the morning and it is 48 deg. F, I do feel it is cold, and when I take off my jersey in the afternoon because it is 95 deg. F, I feel that too.
So they are correct; we do sense global warming and cooling.

October 11, 2016 1:04 pm

LYING al gore is on fox LYING about climate.

Reply to  Bill Taylor
October 11, 2016 2:27 pm

And shrillary right along with him, sea level has risen a foot in Florida and will be gone in a century when these shysters are long gone. There is one thing I have always wondered about , what are the people going to do with all the millions they scammed after they are gone.?

Coach Springer
Reply to  asybot
October 12, 2016 4:38 am

Buy themselves a fraudulent legacy.

Reply to  Bill Taylor
October 11, 2016 2:47 pm

the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy gore.

Tom Halla
October 11, 2016 1:07 pm

It seems more that people are likely to accept reports of “record heat” on a hot day, accurate or not.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 11, 2016 2:49 pm

It’s worth having an objective study, but this is no surprise. This is exactly why James Hansen and Tim Wirth rigged the air-con before the senate hearing way back in 1988 when they started this con job.

Stewart Pid
October 11, 2016 1:17 pm

There is an obvious up tick in the scary warm stories come spring time and the first warm days. They know GLO-BULL warming is a tough sell in the dead of winter and so the alarmist press takes time off to ski and skate 😉

Gil Dewart
October 11, 2016 1:19 pm

Don’t forget, it is not just the measured air temperature – humidity and wind and exposure to solar radiation affect perceptions of how “hot” or “cold” it is.

Bruce Cobb
October 11, 2016 1:37 pm

Wrong. Those who Believe in Global Warming/Climate Change use every chance they can get to re-inforce that Belief, including weather. Skeptics/Climate Realists generally know the difference between weather and climate, and are more knowledgeable overall about climate.

David S
October 11, 2016 1:56 pm

The perceptions of climate and weather history are in part influenced by people’s unreliability in recalling the past. Peoples earliest recollections are often influenced by photos that they viewed recently rather than events themselves. Peoples memories of weather and climate are influenced by recent articles that tell you it’s getting hotter. In reality there is only a very few people who have experienced the hot weather of the 1930s and no one alive for the huge droughts and historically high temperatures of the 1890s.
The warmist cause is as much about changing the past ( by adjustments and lies) as predicting the future. It is easy to change the past because there are so few people alive now who experienced the pre CO2 weather conditions. If the narrative was that we were about to embark on an extended cooling period I guarantee that the hockey stick graph would show a completely different history. If history doesn’t suit the narrative just change it. No one will know the difference.

Reply to  David S
October 11, 2016 3:25 pm

Locality in time – and locality in place. The wife (from New England) remembers the winter of 1973. Myself, I remember nothing in particular about that year here in the desert Southwest.
But I do remember a couple of years later, when I had more than a foot of snow on Christmas Eve along the Mogollon Rim, and the small town was completely blocked off from the outside world – but the same year blurs into many other “typical” winters for where she grew up.

Smart Rock
October 11, 2016 1:58 pm

The only “prompts” most people receive are from the mainstream media, and comprise an endless succession of “hottest year ever”, “hottest (insert appropriate month) ever”, “storm of the century”, “snowmageddon” and so on and so on. Many of these quasi-apocalyptic analogies are even made BEFORE the weather event has even taken place.
It’s a marvel that there are any sceptics left.

October 11, 2016 1:59 pm

Part of the problem is the hysteria the alarmists are trying to whip up. While “forever” to most people is 30-40 years (or less), they can remember events in that time that were just as bad as they are today (hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, etc.).
By claiming everything is about global warming (or climate change), they are destroying their own efforts. It is human nature to get adrenaline flowing in times of crises, but that is a short term condition. So that rush cannot be sustained over any period of time. And always yelling the sky is falling, when it clearly is not, makes folks less likely to listen to them.
Whether man is causing global warming is a matter for study. But when everything is blamed on it, people stop listening.

Bryan A
Reply to  philjourdan
October 11, 2016 2:27 pm

Whether Man is causing global warming
Weather Mann is causing global warming

Reply to  Bryan A
October 11, 2016 2:41 pm

Bryan A
Plus lots.
Quick and apposite!

Reply to  Bryan A
October 12, 2016 4:56 am

Yes, he has the name for the business. I kind of like Interstellar. If you have not seen it, catch it and enjoy the irony.

James Loux
Reply to  philjourdan
October 11, 2016 2:59 pm

The solution for those promoting this hysteria is to first take over the schools and propagandize the children. Those children then grow into good soldiers for the cause, forever attentive of and fearful of anyone violating the rules that they have been taught. Step one already done. Now take over the government with the support of these propagandized youth. Gore and Clinton shared the stage in Miami Tuesday to keep that second step happening for at least the next four years. They claimed that skeptics deny science and that Al’s movie was all about science. This was spoken by two politicians who have literally zero knowledge of anything related to science. Four years with Clinton as President will complete the theft of the Federal Government from the people of this country; no more a government of the people, by the people, for the people. And actual science in this country will be fully decimated.

John in Oz
October 11, 2016 2:05 pm

‘Global warming’ is so last year.
ANY weather event is used to push the CAGW argument – hot/cold, flood/drought, windy/calm, ‘even if rains it won’t fill the dams’, etc/etc.
‘Climate change’ is now the reason purported to be causing any and all weather events and is a far more useful term than ‘global warming’.
In my experience, most people have very short memories regarding previous weather events. I am oftern struggling to remember if last winter/summer was hotter/colder than the current season. With the global average rising such as small amount over many decades, personal experience is a poor measure of change, especially as we perceive temps very differently as I can be cold and heavily clothed while another person beside me could be in light clothing.
Pedantic typo alerts:
Para 1 “If find it interesting…”
Para 3 “…becuase it clearly…”

October 11, 2016 2:33 pm

This summer was pretty hot here in the Niagara Peninsula. And with the drought conditions, the nearby Feeder Canal actually went dry over a good portion of its’ length.
The interesting bit is, that is the first time it has done so since 1944.
It was a hot summer. That’s all it was. Didn’t convince me of ‘man-made’ anything.

October 11, 2016 2:37 pm

Even during a massive El Nino event, global temperatures don’t change by more than .5C which nobody would ever notice. If you think global warming is real because it happens to be hot where you live, that’s because it’s colder on average somewhere else. The global warming movement has a lot of momentum behind it because it’s driven by people’s imaginations.

Reply to  willnitschke
October 11, 2016 2:44 pm

“The global warming movement has a lot of momentum behind it because it’s driven by people’s imaginations.”
“The global warming movement has a lot of momentum behind it because it’s driven by people’s Greed.”
There. Fixed.
Auto, not at all discounting the craving for power – to accompany the Greed!

Reply to  auto
October 11, 2016 10:56 pm

Those in power and in it for the money could not do what they do, unless there was a large base of scientifically illiterate true believers looking for ’causes’ that will give ‘meaning’ to their lives. So don’t put the cart before the horse.

October 11, 2016 2:41 pm

I should imagine that regular snow (when it’s supposed to be so rare that our kids wouldn’t know what it was) would have an influence on perception too.

Reply to  A.D. Everard
October 11, 2016 2:52 pm

Oh no, snow is caused by global warming too.
I know because the President’s science adviser told us so on the official Whitehouse web site.

Reply to  Greg
October 11, 2016 3:04 pm

EVERYTHING is caused by global warming, I’ve noticed. Presumably all the contradictions are also caused by global warming, although they’ve yet to try that one.

October 11, 2016 2:55 pm

They should also address the concept of cooling perceptions. When it was bitterly cold in Iowa, being -25 deg F or lower for almost every day of a whole month and no daily high above zero, we were unaware that it was 1978, the coldest year of that cool period. We simply dealt with it and continued.
In contrast, in 1976, just two years earlier, there was a drought in Maine and it did not rain for ten weeks from June to August. It got to about 110-120 deg F on the mainland, with living on coastal islands surrounded by cold water a small respite. Twelve million chickens died in the Augusta/Bangor area and the National Guard were called out to remove and dispose of the many tons of dead animal. Did we think it was warming? No, not a thought. Stuff simply happens and we deal with it.

Charles Nelson
October 11, 2016 3:47 pm

In advertising in the UK there used to be something we called ‘an ice-cream media package’.
These were ad slots which a client could buy ‘provisionally’, based on the temperature or the weather conditions. e.g. only advertise my ice cream/sunglasses/barbecue sets on sunny days when the temperature goes above 21˚C (we are talking England here!)
Back in the ’90s, the very first thing that made me suspicious that the population was being subjected to a deliberate propaganda campaign was the perfect timing of Global Warming scare stories (which ruined the people’s enjoyment) with the rare spells of good weather!
By the time the Skeptical Side got their act together, the Warmists had been winning hearts and minds for a decade!

Reasonable Skeptic
October 11, 2016 3:53 pm

Two thoughts about things that would be interesting to research.
1) People’s perception of climate change change over their lives. Where did they live as a child, where do they live now. Does it change based on geographic location and does rural to city movement influence perceptions. I assume this does influence the perception, but I wonder how much.
2) Snap response vs reflection response. If you pose a quick question, does the response change when compared to a more clear and well thought out question. I suspect that a snap response would be more likely to support the consensus view, but a more clear question that allows the person time to reflect would move the responses away from the consensus. I suspect virtue signally would influence the quick response.

October 11, 2016 4:39 pm

As Americans get fatter, they feel warmer.
As more American leave the rust belt states and move to / retire to
Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, etc., they feel a lot warmer.
There, I’ve solved the mystery of climate change in America, and deserve the Nobel Prize too:
(pick two of three):
– Half the warming is repeated upwards “adjustments” to raw temperature data
– Half of “warming” is Americans getting fatter and feeling hotter
– Half the warming is measurement error from economic growth near thermometers

Reply to  Richard Greene
October 12, 2016 2:53 am

Richard, you are mixing up two very different things. Actual warming, which is a scientific question and is answered by measurement, and perceived warming, which is a social phenomenon and measured by surveys and the like.
The actual warming (or otherwise) is not affected by the results of surveys, nor by whether the man in the street believes in it.

Bill Illis
October 11, 2016 5:50 pm

Find and download your own local weather records – the unadultered versions going back as far as possible. You’ll find nothing much has changed and the seasons are not changing etc. There were some cold years like 1883 or 1913 or 1976 and some warm years like 1878 or 1941 or 1988 or 1998 but that is it.
You know if you grow a garden, nothing has changed about the dates that things need to be done by from when you great-great grandparents were doing the same. Ice-out dates, first snowfall records, first 100F days are basically exactly the same as the 1880s, the 1960s or 2010s.
The only thing that has really changed is what the NCDC/NCEI and climate scientists tell you the temperature was in the past.
Your great-great grandfather did not have a garden because the crops would not have matured enough to produce. Yet, your great-great grandfather still somehow managed to have a cold storage cellar that fed your great-grandfather throughout the winter and spring. 6 boys ate meat and potatoes every day which came from the cellar.
I consider this basic fool-proof proof. Because I grow the same stuff (even better stuff because of new varieties) and my great-great grandfather still did better than me. Despite the fact the weather was so much “colder back then”. BS.

James at 48
October 11, 2016 6:18 pm

I find in general among Americans declining heat tolerance. Increasingly, anything warmer than a blasting air conditioner spewing 63 Deg F air results in profuse sweating, along with men having to wear short sleeves and women in many cases sleeveless. In addition to mass hysteria effects, I suspect that increasing obesity, hormonal disturbances, and greater use of psych meds have reduced heat tolerance of the masses.

Robert of Texas
October 11, 2016 6:30 pm

Most people will believe almost anything if they hear if stated enough times – I have seen this many times in my life. So if all that people ever hear about is how much warmer it has become…a hot day just reinforces this already primed idea. If the world is naturally warming then this is channeled into reinforcing existing beliefs on AGW. People seem to want to be told what to believe instead of being handed the facts so they can come to their own conclusion.
I really see no way of winning this campaign against AGW propaganda. You can convince those who take the time to understand the issues, but most people’s beliefs do not seem to be founded on anything but hysteria. The only way I see this ever turning around is for noticeable cooling to begin, if just for a decade.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 12, 2016 1:36 am

I agree Robert, only a serious change in the weather will snap them out of it.
Next year global cooling should begin, with huge ramifications for the Klimatariat.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 12, 2016 2:57 am

“The only way I see this ever turning around is for noticeable cooling to begin, if just for a decade.”
Yes, it is hard to get people to believe in cooling when we have this relentless warming going on.

Reply to  seaice1
October 12, 2016 5:29 am

“relentless warming”
What relentless warming?
Are you talking about the warming that took place from the 1970’s to 1998? All natural (prove otherwise). Just like the warming that took place from 1910 to 1940, and of equal magnitude. It cooled after the 1940’s, to the 1970’s, *then* your “relentless” warming kicked in.
There is no “relentless” warming going on now. At best, we are flatlining since 1998.
The temperature chart profile goes up a liittle, then it goes down a little, and then it goes up a little again. That’s where we are right now. Alarmists expect it to continue to go up, but the pattern points toward it going down. We shall see.

Coach Springer
October 12, 2016 4:40 am

Hype and hysteria can be subtle too.

October 12, 2016 8:05 am

This pretty much says it all 🙂

Reply to  Griff
October 12, 2016 8:09 am

Though y’all might prefer this one

tony mcleod
Reply to  Griff
October 12, 2016 6:46 pm

Don Anthony

Reply to  Griff
October 12, 2016 7:09 pm

linear trend: 0.014 °F/yr±0.02 °F/yr (72 yr/°F),+mo+temperature

Reply to  clipe
October 12, 2016 7:10 pm

Tony Baloney

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