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Extreme Weather, Climate, and Preparedness

Highlights:

  • 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year;
  • 35 percent of all Americans report that they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these extreme weather events in the past year;
  • Over the past several years, Americans say the weather in the U.S. has been getting worse – rather than better – by a margin of over 2 to 1 (52% vs. 22%);
  • A large majority of Americans believe that global warming made several high profile extreme weather events worse, including the unusually warm winter of December 2011 and January 2012 (72%), 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%);
  • Only 36 percent of Americans have a disaster emergency plan that all members of their family know about or an emergency supply kit in their home (37%).

The New York Times article on this report: In Poll, Many Link Weather Extemes to Climate Change.

Extreme Weather, Climate & Preparedness in the American Mind reports results from a nationally representative survey of 1,008 American adults, aged 18 and older, fielded March 12 through March 30, 2012, using the online research panel of Knowledge Networks. The report includes measures of public observations and experiences of weather, opinions about the links between global warming and particular extreme weather events, levels of household preparedness, and use of local weather forecasts.