Shifts in Perceptions of Climate Change: A Delphi Experiment Revisited

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  • 1 Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois
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A group of atmospheric scientists, members of two midwestern AMS chapters, were polled in 1982 and in 1992 about their perceptions of current climate trends and the climate-change issue. Most correctly assessed the recent trends in climate conditions, aware of the cooling-wet trend with considerable seasonal weather variability prior to 1982, and most were aware of the warming trend in 1992. In both 1983 and 1992, a large majority of the respondents believed that information being presented about the climate-change issue was generally confusing to them and to the lay public. Half of the respondents in 1992 believed that evidence that a change in climate will occur is convincing, whereas in 1982 only 20% believed that evidence was convincing. In response to the question about whether the enhanced greenhouse effect on climate had begun in 1992, half said yes and half said no.

A group of atmospheric scientists, members of two midwestern AMS chapters, were polled in 1982 and in 1992 about their perceptions of current climate trends and the climate-change issue. Most correctly assessed the recent trends in climate conditions, aware of the cooling-wet trend with considerable seasonal weather variability prior to 1982, and most were aware of the warming trend in 1992. In both 1983 and 1992, a large majority of the respondents believed that information being presented about the climate-change issue was generally confusing to them and to the lay public. Half of the respondents in 1992 believed that evidence that a change in climate will occur is convincing, whereas in 1982 only 20% believed that evidence was convincing. In response to the question about whether the enhanced greenhouse effect on climate had begun in 1992, half said yes and half said no.

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