On Monday, I tried to explain why you haven’t felt climate change and why it is very unlikely any one person actually will. It doesn’t work on the same time span at the human experience. How counter-intuitive it is only furthers the credit deserved to those scientist whom have progressed our understanding of climate to point that we’re at and why I’m constantly surprised by the sheer arrogance of smug deniers who try to inform me why the science is wrong.
Anyway, Li et al. (2011) recently conducted an experiment where they asked groups of people from the US and Australia whether they thought the current day was warmer or cooler than average, what they thought about climate change and if they would donate to a charity focused on global warming.
What they found was probably expected by many readers.
Where respondents thought the day was warmer than normal, they tended to have more concern about climate change and donate more money to climate change causes.
Of course, the amount the local temperature anomaly has shifted over a lifespan isn’t great enough for a person to have noticed even if that amount of change had occurred over the previous hour – we’re not great at discriminating between a couple degrees. Suggesting that it’s noticeable over over our lifespan, hidden between the diurnal and seasonal fluctuations is simply ludicrous.
We simply will not feel climate change like we feel weather change.
Li et al. (2011) does, however, offer an interesting perspective in how climate change is perceived within the general public and room for improvement in education about what climate change actually is and what we can expect from warming rates.