Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 8 of 8 items for

  • Author or Editor: Anthony Leiserowitz x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Anthony Leiserowitz
Full access
Kenneth Broad
,
Anthony Leiserowitz
,
Jessica Weinkle
, and
Marissa Steketee

This article reviews the evolution, communication, and differing interpretations of the National Hurricane Center's “cone of uncertainty” hurricane forecast graphic. It concludes with a discussion of this graphic from the perspective of risk communication theory. The 2004 hurricane season, in which five named storms struck Florida, demonstrated that hurricane forecast graphics, despite admirable attempts by the forecast community to make user-friendly products, are still subject to misinterpretation by many members of the public. This exploratory analysis draws upon interviews with key government officials and media figures, archival research of Florida newspapers, analysis of 962 public comments on the National Hurricane Center's cone of uncertainty graphic, a separate multiagency study of2004 hurricane behavior, and relevant risk communication literature, to identify several characteristics of this graphic that likely contribute to public misinterpretation. Forecast providers should consider more formal, rigorous pretesting of forecast graphics, using standard social science techniques, in order to minimize the probability of misinterpretation.

Full access
Jagadish Thaker
,
Edward Maibach
,
Anthony Leiserowitz
,
Xiaoquan Zhao
, and
Peter Howe

Abstract

Research on adaptive capacity often focuses on economics and technology, despite evidence from the social sciences finding that socially shared beliefs, norms, and networks are critical in increasing individuals’ and communities’ adaptive capacity. Drawing upon social cognitive theory, this paper builds on the first author’s Ph.D. dissertation and examines the role of collective efficacy—people’s shared beliefs about their group’s capabilities to accomplish collective tasks—in influencing Indians’ capacity to adapt to drinking water scarcity, a condition likely to be exacerbated by future climate change. Using data from a national survey (N = 4031), individuals with robust collective efficacy beliefs were found to be more likely to participate in community activities intended to ensure the adequacy of water supplies, and this relationship was found to be stronger in communities with high levels of community collective efficacy compared to communities with low levels of community collective efficacy. In addition, community collective efficacy was positively associated with self-reported community adaptation responses. Public education campaigns aimed at increasing collective efficacy beliefs are likely to increase adaptive capacity.

Full access
Emily D. Esplin
,
Jennifer R. Marlon
,
Anthony Leiserowitz
, and
Peter D. Howe

Abstract

The risks associated with extreme heat are increasing as heat waves become more frequent and severe across larger areas. As people begin to experience heat waves more often and in more places, how will individuals respond? Measuring experience with heat simply as exposure to extreme temperatures may not fully capture how people subjectively experience those temperatures or their varied impacts on human health. These impacts may also influence an individual’s response to heat and motivate risk-reduction behaviors. If subjectively experiencing negative health effects from extreme heat promotes protective actions, these effects could be used alongside temperature exposure to more accurately measure extreme heat experience and inform risk prevention and communication strategies according to local community needs. Using a multilevel regression model, this study analyzes georeferenced national survey data to assess whether Americans’ exposure to extreme heat and experience with its health effects are associated with self-reported protective behaviors. Subjective experience with heat-related health symptoms strongly predicted all reported protective behaviors while measured heat exposure had a much weaker influence. Risk perception was strongly associated with some behaviors. This study focuses particularly on the practice of checking on family, friends, and neighbors during a heat wave, which can be carried out by many people. For this behavior, age, race/ethnicity, gender, and income, along with subjective experience and risk perception, were important predictors. Results suggest that the subjective experience of extreme heat influences health-related behavioral responses and should therefore be considered when designing or improving local heat protection plans.

Full access
Forrest S. Schoessow
,
Yajie Li
,
Jennifer R. Marlon
,
Anthony Leiserowitz
, and
Peter D. Howe

Abstract

Extreme heat events are one of the deadliest weather-related hazards in the United States and are increasing in frequency and severity as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Further, some subpopulations may be more vulnerable than others because of social, economic, and political factors that create disparities in hazard impacts and responses. Vulnerability is also affected by risk perceptions, which can influence protective behaviors. In this study, we use national survey data to investigate the association of key sociodemographic factors with public risk perceptions of heatwaves. We find that risk perceptions are most associated with income, race/ethnicity, gender, and disability status. Age, an important predictor of heat mortality, had smaller associations with heat risk perceptions. Low-income, nonwhite, and disabled individuals tend to perceive themselves to be at greater risks from heatwaves than other subpopulations, corresponding to their elevated risk. Men have lower risk perceptions than women despite their higher mortality and morbidity from heat. This study helps to identify subpopulations in the United States who see themselves as at risk from extreme heat and can inform heat risk communication and other risk reduction practices.

Free access
Matthew J. Cutler
,
Jennifer R. Marlon
,
Peter D. Howe
, and
Anthony Leiserowitz

Abstract

Vulnerability and resilience to extreme weather hazards are a function of diverse physical, social, and psychological factors. Previous research has focused on individual factors that influence public perceptions of hazards, such as politics, ideology, and cultural worldviews, as well as on socioeconomic and demographic factors that affect geographically based vulnerability, environmental justice, and community resilience. Few studies have investigated individual socioeconomic and racial/ethnic differences in public risk perceptions of the health hazards associated with extreme heat events, which are now increasing due to climate change. This study uses multilevel statistical modeling to investigate individual- and geographic-level (e.g., census tract level and regional) social, economic, and biophysical influences on public perceptions of the adverse health impacts associated with heat waves. Political orientation and climate change beliefs are the strongest predictors of heat wave health risk perceptions; household income also has a relatively strong and consistent effect. Contextual socioeconomic vulnerability, measured with a social vulnerability index at the census tract level, also significantly affects heat wave risk perceptions. The strong influence of political orientation and climate beliefs on perceptions of adverse health impacts from heat waves suggests that ideological predispositions can increase vulnerability to climate change.

Full access
Neil Stenhouse
,
Edward Maibach
,
Sara Cobb
,
Ray Ban
,
Andrea Bleistein
,
Paul Croft
,
Eugene Bierly
,
Keith Seitter
,
Gary Rasmussen
, and
Anthony Leiserowitz

Meteorologists and other atmospheric science experts are playing important roles in helping society respond to climate change. However, members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic. In response, AMS created the Committee to Improve Climate Change Communication to explore and, to the extent possible, resolve these tensions. To support this committee, in January 2012 we surveyed all AMS members with known e-mail addresses, achieving a 26.3% response rate (n = 1,854). In this paper we tested four hypotheses—1) perceived conflict about global warming will be negatively associated, and 2) climate expertise, 3) liberal political ideology, and 4) perceived scientific consensus will be positively associated—with 1) higher personal certainty that global warming is happening, 2) viewing the global warming observed over the past 150 years as mostly human caused, and 3) perception of global warming as harmful. All four hypotheses were confirmed. Expertise, ideology, perceived consensus, and perceived conflict were all independently related to respondents' views on climate, with perceived consensus and political ideology being most strongly related. We suggest that AMS should attempt to convey the widespread scientific agreement about climate change; acknowledge and explore the uncomfortable fact that political ideology influences the climate change views of meteorology professionals; refute the idea that those who do hold nonmajority views just need to be “educated” about climate change; and continue to deal with the conflict among members of the meteorology community.

Full access
Ashley A. Anderson
,
Teresa A. Myers
,
Edward W. Maibach
,
Heidi Cullen
,
Jim Gandy
,
Joe Witte
,
Neil Stenhouse
, and
Anthony Leiserowitz

Abstract

Local television (TV) weathercasters are a potentially promising source of climate education, in that weather is the primary reason viewers watch local TV news, large segments of the public trust TV weathercasters as a source of information about global warming, and extreme weather events are increasingly common (Leiserowitz et al.; U.S. Global Change Research Program). In an online experiment conducted in two South Carolina cities (Greenville, n = 394; Columbia, n = 352) during and immediately after a summer heat wave, the effects on global warming risk perceptions were examined following exposure to a TV weathercast in which a weathercaster explained the heat wave as a local manifestation of global warming versus exposure to a 72-h forecast of extreme heat. No main effect of the global warming video on learning was found. However, a significant interaction effect was found: subjects who evaluated the TV weathercaster more positively were positively influenced by the global warming video, and viewers who evaluated the weathercaster less positively were negatively influenced by the video. This effect was strongest among politically conservative viewers. These results suggest that weathercaster-delivered climate change education can have positive, albeit nuanced, effects on TV-viewing audiences.

Full access