This paper reports on the role of the media in shaping public perceptions of climatic change in Canada. The results of an exploratory questionnaire survey in southern Ontario revealed that a large proportion of respondents believe that the Canadian climate is changing. Although many respondents believe that humankind is partly responsible for this change, they are unable to suggest the principal factors currently being discussed by atmospheric scientists as being involved in climatic change. A content analysis of a wide range of media pointed to the conclusion that the popular media rapidly reports research by atmospheric scientists on weather- and climate-related topics. However, this coverage does not allow the public to form a balanced or a correct idea of the nature of climatic change.

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Footnotes

1Present address: 24 Buxton Dr., Mickleover, Derby DE3 5JR, England.