Most Americans believe that global warming has played a role in a series of unusual weather events during the past year.
A poll released today by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 72 percent of Americas believe global warming played a role in the very warm winter the United States just experienced.
As we reported, 2011 was a record setter with 14 different weather events that caused more than $1 billion in damage.
The poll found that most Americans linked these events — “record high summer temperatures in the U.S. in 2011 (70%), the drought in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 (69%), record snowfall in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011 (61%), the Mississippi River floods in the spring of 2011 (63%), and Hurricane Irene (59%)” — to global warming.
The New York Times reports that the poll is the most detailed of its kind on how the public feels about climate change and “comes atop other polling showing a recent uptick in concern about climate change.”
The paper adds:
“Read together, the polls suggest that direct experience of erratic weather may be convincing some people that the problem is no longer just a vague and distant threat.
“‘Most people in the country are looking at everything that’s happened; it just seems to be one disaster after another after another,’ said Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University, one of the researchers who commissioned the new poll. ‘People are starting to connect the dots.’”
The poll also found that a little more than half of Americans believe weather in the United States have been getting worse over the past several years.
This poll, of course, runs counter to what has appeared to be growing skepticism of global warming that partly stemmed from the Climategate scandal.