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The Sciences

Global Warming and Snowstorms: Communication Nightmare, or Opportunity?

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMarch 3, 2011 3:28 AM


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My latest DeSmogBlog piece is about attempts to educate the public about the fact that, yes, global warming is expected to strengthen winter storms, and increase how much snow they dump. But this is a complete nightmare to communicate to people--perhaps the hardest aspect of climate science to get across:

“Perceptions of the implications of lots of snow for the existence of climate change are like the results from a Rorschach test,” writes Janet Swim, a psychologist at Penn State who headed up an American Psychological Association task force report on psychology and climate change. Suggesting that he knows this well, Marc Morano is already blasting Jeff Masters and the Union of Concerned Scientists over the global warming-snow claim. Clearly, Morano feels he’s on strong ground here, tactically or otherwise.

The communication question is clear: Global warming's impact upon winter storms is predicted by theory and seems increasingly validated by observations, but can you really hope to make people believe it and understand it? For my (mixed) answer, you can read the rest of the piece here.

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