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New study: Conservatives not fooled by “extreme weather” in media but liberals suffer imaginary droughts

Good news. There is hope for average Americans; not so much for academics.

It’s bad news for the Eco Worriers though who were hoping that constant displays of extreme weather would finally convince conservatives — a flood here, a Cat 6 there, a hottest first Sunday of Lent. It all washes over Conservatives. The weather-porn won’t convince them.

But the most interesting and novel discovery here is buried in the third paragraph from the bottom and barely mentioned. The researchers are only interested in how to “convince conservatives” and not remotely concerned that the media may be misleading a lot of the population by hyping up the weather.

Apparently media propaganda has convinced 40% of the US population that they’ve lived through a drought that didn’t happen and 10% think they’ve lived through a hurricane that wasn’t.

I graphed the differences between perceived events and real ones. Below, red columns show the percentage of people who said they had lived through droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. Blue columns show the percentage of those same people who were living in counties which NOAA said had actually experienced those events.

Extreme weather perceptions, USA, drought, flood, hurricane, graph, 2018

A lot of people think they’ve been in a drought or a hurricane than NOAA data suggests.  Perceived events (red): Real events (green)

 

Experiencing extreme weather is not enough to convince climate change skeptics

Ben Lyons, The University of Exeter, UK starts out assuming liberals are right about the climate which means almost every conclusion is wrong:

Political bias and partisan news reporting influence whether people report experiencing certain extreme weather events, the research suggests.

But Americans who lived in areas where a variety of extreme events were recorded — flood, tornado, hurricane, and drought — were ultimately no more likely to share the same beliefs about climate change as scientists.

Dr Ben Lyons, from the University of Exeter, who led the research, said: “”Extreme weather plays a limited long-term role in forming people’s beliefs about climate change. Instead, their views and beliefs can alter the way they perceive the weather. We have found when an extreme weather event is ambiguous, as with polar vortex and drought, people are more likely to see the event through a partisan lens. If there is grey area, people are more comfortable applying their preferred label.”

Then Lyons thinks he is testing how people perceive the weather, but he is testing keyword recognition:

The University of Exeter, University of Michigan and University of Texas research found that Republicans were less likely to report experiencing a polar vortex, while those exposed to liberal media were more likely.

All this means is that the Liberal media go on about polar vortexes a lot and poor Liberal viewers repeat the same mistakes. The Polar Vortex was the code for scary weather in 2014 and most of the time the media got it wrong. Every cold blast is not a polar vortex, but Liberal viewers were told it was. Lyons thinks conservatives are denying an extreme weather event that technically didn’t happen. Who’s the denier?

However the weather can be sometimes so extreme that it overshadows personal views — the researchers found that partisanship and media use did not affect the way people in the American Northeast — where the 2014 and 2015 polar vortex events hit hardest — reported the weather they had experienced.

The Liberal media is so partisan some people who watch it think they’re experiencing a drought, even when they’re not:

Those who favoured liberal news sources such as the Huffington Post or the Daily Show reported experiencing drought more often than national weather data would suggest they actually did.

Thank the Liberal media for imaginary droughts. The media release doesn’t mention the imaginary hurricanes and the magnitude of the misinformation on droughts is hidden — the numbers are carefully separated in dense text below. Ninety percent of people who thought they’d lived through a drought, had not.

The researchers keep admitting that media coverage has an effect, but don’t seem to realize the media get things wrong and what they are studying is not Conservatives “denying” extreme weather, but Liberals who are easily tricked. Even partisan biased media can’t fool all the people all the time (though its easier if they have a PhD in mass communication).

Dr Lyons said: “Very extreme weather accompanied by constant media coverage is harder for people to deny. But on the other end of the scale, droughts can take longer to have an effect, so people have some difficulty perceiving their onset and this may allow them to bring their biases to the table.”

It takes constant media coverage to convince people of a fake idea. Here’s the buried numbers:

Academics surveyed 3,057 people in the USA to ask them about the extreme weather they had experienced over a five-year period, and also if they believed in climate change, human causation, and the scientific consensus on the matter. They also asked where they lived. The experts were then able to compare these answers to official weather reports for that region for the same time period.

Data about the weather was taken from the Storm Events Database compiled by NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS). The data included droughts, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. A total of 21.7 per cent of respondents reported experiencing a polar vortex, 41.0 per cent a drought, 19.8 per cent a tornado, 29.3 per cent flood, and 16.7 per cent a hurricane in the past five years. However the data shows 21.3 per cent lived in a county where a flood was recorded over the time period, 25.3 per cent a tornado, 4.3 per cent a hurricane, and 4.4 per cent drought.

40% of the US is very skeptical

No wonder they put this at the bottom. Fully 40% of people did not even believe there was solid evidence the world has warmed in the last 30 years — a box even I would tick:

A total of 59.2 per cent of respondents agreed that “there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades.” Of respondents who agreed with this statement, 74.2 per cent agreed that the Earth was warming mostly due to “human activity such as burning fossil fuels.”

So in total only 43% of the population agreed it had warmed (with solid evidence) and it was man-made. This has dropped  since the PEW survey in 2015 which estimated that 50% of the US population blamed humans. But then  a 2014 survey found 65% of the US population are skeptical that each flood or drought was man-made. Swings and roundabouts.

Dr Lyons said: “This research shows people’s perception of extreme weather can be processed through partisan lenses. This means efforts to connect extreme events with climate change may do more to rally those with liberal beliefs than convince those with more conservative views that humans are having an impact on the climate. “However, it’s important to note that we take a big-picture look rather than focus on specific events. Particularly intense events — a 100-year flood or catastrophic hurricane — might be most capable of influencing attitudes.”

Only a Liberal would think the big-picture is a one in 100 year flood. By definition, since homosapiens started building mud huts on floodplains there have been 100 floods of that caliber everywhere on land on Earth.

This useless analysis was funded by the H2020 European Research Council [grant number 682758].

Another good reason for Brexit. The UK gives good money the EU and then gets back money to do surveys like this.

REFERENCE

Benjamin A. Lyons, Ariel Hasell, Natalie Jomini Stroud. (2018) Enduring Extremes? Polar Vortex, Drought, and Climate Change BeliefsEnvironmental Communication; 12 (7): 876 DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2018.1520735

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51 comments to New study: Conservatives not fooled by “extreme weather” in media but liberals suffer imaginary droughts

  • #
    Pauly

    I wish I had a PhD in mis-communication. Then I would gleefully apply to stupid bureaucrats who apparently have lots of tax payer money to give away in “research” grants, do a meaningless survey, and publish an article in numerous complicit “journals”. Sounds better than actually working for a living. I would call it academic welfare.

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      I often wonder what makes a person pursue left wing nonsense….

      The hard headed pragmatists seem to be able to work out the climate con pretty well, whereas it seems hysteria and foolishness is the stock in trade of left wingers…maybe they just cant cope with reality?

      I dunno…but the Israeli army wont let anyone who plays “Dungeons and Dragons” in its ranks, as those who play that game are deemed unable to separate reality from make believe. Kind of dangerous I guess if you imagine purple monsters everywhere while holding a firearm…

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  • #
    Mark M

    Blaming President Trump for hurricane Florence at category 4 should be a light globe moment for most reasonable thinking people of any political stripe.

    https://news.grabien.com/story-cnn-blames-trump-hurricanes-his-climate-policies-will-lead-8

    According to this ‘thinking’, President Trump also can be blamed for the downgrade.

    https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2018/09/14/1828345/hurricane-florence-decreases-speed-to-category-1-but-still-powerful-vidoe

    If that isn’t a red flag of the madness required to believe, what are you doing reading this?

    You should be “dedicating your time to constructing a survivalist fallout shelter in the bush”:
    https://www.theguardian.com/monash-university-pursuit-of-knowledge/2017/dec/15/what-did-we-learn-from-the-un-climate-change-conference

    80

  • #
    Kinky Keith

    The use of the “weather” as a tool of the Modern Manipulating Class is just one of a number of ways that scammers have been able to enslave modern populations who live in a dreamworld they think is democracy.

    Most Western countries have lost the plot and have little or no contact with reality when we argue and froth at the mouth over producing and distributing cheap, reliable electricity.

    Western countries cannot maintain the present state of affairs for much longer and Must fight the forces of Evil by:

    1. Stop the use of the terms liberals and conservatives.

    2. Reintroduce the terms Right and Wrong.

    3. Discontinue the habit of labeling people left and right to avoid confusion with point 2.

    4. Introduce a law of Treason, whereby anybody moving taxpayers money out of Australia to places like the United Nations is gaoled for the rest of their natural life in Tasmania. This act should include donations to The Great Big Barrier Reef Foundation Trust Fund for Retiring Politicians.

    5. Set up Re-education facilities to deprogramme ALL Australian Government Employeesworkers so that on leaving said facility they can be given the Workers Classification of Public Servant.

    6. Devolve the new Australian Public Service organization to country areas in every state.

    7. Set up the now vacant Canberra as a self sufficient retirement home for former politicians.

    Self sufficient means just that. No coal, gas or diesel electricity generators allowed.
    All electricity to be renewable.

    Advance Australia out of this mess.

    KK

    131

  • #

    Yeah, I meet so many conservatives who fail to report experiencing a polar vortex. Even when someone like Ben Lyons offers them the chance to report experiencing a polar vortex they just keep on failing to report experiencing a polar vortex. It’s a real problem, this failure by average punters to report experiencing a polar vortex. They likely just shrug it off as a blizzard or cold snap. Even when constant media reportage tells them it’s “very extreme”. What? Are they waiting for “extremely extreme”?

    Admittedly, you also find HuffPo-perusing types who fail to report experiencing a ludicrous push poll cooked up by low-rent academics from the fondant section of the soft sciences. That can also be a problem.

    150

  • #

    I think Trump’s presidency has a lot to do with this and many other things. He has defied the doomsayers (aka experts) on so many levels, economics, world stability, jobs, environment etc. While the Democrats and the media continually cry that the sky is falling, people are actually seeing their lives getting better, not worse. The credibility of the Left is shot and people are slowly waking up. The midterms will be the litmus test.

    190

    • #
      el gordo

      The trouble with Donald is that he lacks credibility, so its probably best for our cause if he never mentions climate.

      14

      • #

        Trump has plenty of credibility among conservatives, as he has done, attempted to do and is doing much of what he promised. Few, if any, other Presidents have come close to achieving as many campaign promises. His perceived lack of credibility originates from the left which is amplified by a lackey media and arises due to his high credibility with the right. He may be brash, blunt and a little full of himself, but at least you know what he’s thinking, unlike Obama who was also full of himself, but had a tendency to hide behind weasel words.

        81

        • #
          el gordo

          I agree with all you say and nobody else could have brought peace to the Korean Peninsula.

          On climate change Donald is not interested in the science and pulling out of Paris was a commercial consideration. So he needs to employ someone at the highest level who can tell the world that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming and global cooling is imminent.

          70

          • #
            TdeF

            Even if CO2 caused Global Warming and after thirty years, it clearly doesn’t, the question is whether the
            increase is man made and it isn’t.

            80

          • #

            I disagree with that sentiment. Trump doesn’t have to justify anything with actual science, he is simply ignoring all of the doomsaying and, by his actions, proving that it’s all a scam. He’s not giving the Left a chance to argue back.

            61

            • #

              He doesn’t need to act on the science. The economic reasons alone are sufficient for bailing on Paris, even if CO2 was a problem, and that’s all he promised. I do think he’s missing an opportunity by not aggressively addressing correcting the science. Among those on the left, many consider their position on climate science as their most supportable position, largely because of media driven disinformation. Once they understand how and why they’ve been so completely deceived, they might want to perform due diligence on other polarizing issues where the same sources pf misinformation have shaped their position.

              60

              • #
                el gordo

                ‘I do think he’s missing an opportunity by not aggressively addressing correcting the science.’

                Yes, it would have been good if Donald articulated why he’s getting out of Paris. What happened to the red and blue teams? Why, on the urgings of his daughter, did he have dinner with a celebrity zealot?

                Nope, from where I’m standing Donald dropped the ball.

                00

              • #

                For a start, Trump would have to convene a debate or some such where the ‘believers’ and ‘sceptics’ would battle each other out. When has any such thing occurred? The ‘climate scientists’ will never face off with the ‘sceptical scientists’.

                Trump has already articulated why he got out of the Paris Agreement, in really simple to understand terms. He said it’s a scam and just sucks money out of the US to no benefit to the US people.

                The people that Trump needs to convince aren’t the elites, they are the ‘deplorables’ and the ‘dregs of society’. The latter don’t want or need to listen to science debates. Trump speaks to them in a language they understand and that’s what matters.

                50

          • #
            Phillthegeek

            nobody else could have brought peace to the Korean Peninsula.

            Oh FFS eg, you dont actually believe any of that shite do you?? Trumps been played, and for his short term political gain been happy to be bent over and played by the NK’s. That’s about as obvious as a baboons big red bottom.

            Ok, “conservatives” desperately WANT to believe it, but seriously, there is no chance this luv in between Trup and Kim is going to last beyond its usefulness to Kim.

            14

            • #
              el gordo

              Clearly you lack a liberal arts degree, Kim has decided to come in from the cold and wants to join Beijing’s belt and road.

              A few years ago a high ranking defector from NK said the best way to bring Kim to his senses is with humour. Donald referred to Kim as ‘rocket man’ and then threatened to legally obliterate his country if he put a foot wrong.

              It was not an idle threat, but its worth remembering that Xi and Donald had already decided to use the carrot and stick approach.

              Premier Xi then made Kim an offer he couldn’t refuse. Hiliary could not have achieved this, Its over comrade, we have peace in our time.

              How do you feel about socialism with Australian characteristics?

              40

              • #
                Kinky Keith

                I have often been prompted to think of what Australia was in the past and compare that with now.

                It’s my impression that the Australia of a hundred years ago was the most successful, egalitarian, form of socialism possible.

                Then, in the late sixties, the dream state began to crumble and distort and lead us to appreciate the old saying that;
                “eventually all good things come to an end”.

                Behind the curtains of respectability there were serious distortions way back, in the two major churches, along with bullying in many institutions such as the police forces, the local dockyard and Unions.

                It seems that possibly we have moved too quickly from being an extremely physical society to one now that is overintellectualised
                and perhaps mentally constipated.

                One of the great things about life is that, one way or another, we are always challenged.

                KK

                50

              • #
                el gordo

                Keith if you go back to the 1890s in Australia there was a utopian socialism, which was the talking point in any political discourse. More to do with Edward Bellamy than Karl Marx.

                10

              • #
                Kinky Keith

                El Gordo

                I only went back 100 years because that’s All I could safely extrapolate back to.

                I know that life wasn’t easy back then but the important thing is that you’re given the chance to do better in a sensible, community friendly way.

                If you chose to work hard nobody would begrudge you the money you spent.

                The education I got in school, for free, was amazing when you look around the world and see what other countries did for their young.

                KK

                10

              • #
                el gordo

                Keith the new immigrants will make Australia great, even the hardened communists from China will soften to our political culture, freedom and safety from unwarranted persecution.

                10

          • #
            Kinky Keith

            I’d like that.

            KK

            00

    • #
      Hasbeen

      When you consider that the US re-elected Obama, even after 4 years of seeing what a ratbag he was makes me doubt their ability to see the wood for the trees. Too many of them will believe what they want to be true, rather than what is actually happening.

      The true ratbags will think that the improvement in their lives is down to Obama’s policies taking effect, no matter how obvious the facts.

      40

      • #

        Political correctness gave Obama both terms. Many on both sides considered that to vote against him was to be a racist which prevented them from separating inept policy from skin color. This was the goal of the identity politics pushed so hard by the left during his tenure. If you can’t win on the merits, play the race card and hope guilt paves the way.

        40

  • #
    el gordo

    ‘… a 100-year flood …’

    They must mean a sea flood and I don’t mean slowly rising sea level.

    00

    • #
      John in Oz

      Unfortunately, the sheeple tend to think that descriptors such as ‘a 100 year flood’ means that if we had a flood in recent memory, another should not occur for 100 years. Having another flood before that time is ‘extreme’ and proof of CAGW.

      They do not understand even simple statistics so do not realise the term is the statistical chance of the flood occurring in any year.

      20

      • #
        el gordo

        Yeah they stretch the truth with a simple extrapolation, here is another example.

        ‘According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s long-term average rainfall during September is 16.6mm. Last month, Australia registered an area-averaged rainfall total of just 5.2mm, according to the Bureau’s monthly climate summary. This paltry amount makes it Australia’s driest September in 119 years of records and the nation’s second driest calendar month on record, behind April 1902.’

        Weatherzone

        ————

        I think its a Gleissberg signal.

        10

  • #
    ivan

    This just shows that Goebbels was correct – If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, gullible people will eventually come to believe it.

    In this case the gullible are those that follow a liberal arts education where feelings play the biggest part in any endeavor – hard science does not get a look in in their world view.

    90

    • #

      I think it’s more of a biological response to lean left or right, not that it can’t be retrained.

      It seems to have to do with which way a brain leans when there’s a conflict between logic and emotion, or between the left and right hemispheres. It’s interesting that when people are free to choose a side, there’s roughly a 50/50 split among most populations.

      Those on the left tend to give more weight to emotional arguments, while those on the right favor logic. Pretty much every politically divisive issue can be partitioned along these lines. Of course, it’s politically incorrect to discuss differences in brains, whether genetic or not, so this will probably never actually be recognized by the left …

      90

  • #
    yarpos

    Small error in the graph description Jo. Real events – Blue? Just mentioned it as youve labelled in with the site name and its bound to be copied.

    40

  • #
    David Maddison

    (Apologies, off topic.)

    Flim Flammery was on Their ABC radio this morning. It was too sickening for me to listen to.

    Audio is at:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/un-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change/10331696

    20

  • #
    el gordo

    Extreme Weather

    It hasn’t been this dry in 116 years, so its global cooling.

    ‘September is the latest in a string of dry months in Australia during 2018. Ater a relatively wet start to the year, every month since April has been drier than average for the nation as a whole.

    ‘Quite amazingly, this spate of dry weather has occurred in the absence of fully developed El Nino and positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events.’

    Weatherzone

    20

    • #
      theRealUniverse

      Funny tho they keep talking about El Nino and La Nina ,also IDO etc, like its some magic event without even trying to analyze where the cycles originate.
      One process that causes heatwaves is trapped high pressure systems.

      20

      • #
        el gordo

        A strong El Nino and positive IOD will produce droughty conditions in Australia, but what if they are both neutral and drought still grips the nation?

        00

  • #
    David Maddison

    As solar output diminishes and the world cools, how would you expect Australian agriculture to fare?

    (I am just talking about climatic affects on agriculture and disregarding the fact that Australia will no longer have a cheap or reliable source of energy to keep the population warm during cold times, the mass die off of people due to cold weather will alleviate the food demand somewhat).

    20

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      David Maddison:

      My view is that there won’t be a catastrophic effect as the temperature drop will be limited. The change will be a contraction in the tropic zone pulling the ‘roaring forties’ a bit north. Result more rain in southern Australia, much as in the 1860-70′s when wheat farming headed hundreds of miles north in SA. There may be less rain in the North but less agriculture there anyway.
      The problem will be overseas especially in the Middle East and in India/Pakistan. Will the monsoon be less reliable? All told a catastrophe for some nations.

      20

      • #

        Yes, climate change generally means that the average temperatures at the poles and equator remain relatively constant, while the latitude whose average temperature is 0C (the permanent ice line) migrates North and South.

        20

  • #
    John in Oz

    The power of the media and advertising is shown in this paper:

    How and When Advertising Can Influence Memory for Consumer Experience
    https://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1319&context=articles

    E.g., they state that people ‘remembered’ meeting Bugs Bunny at Disneyland, even shaking his hand, but Bugs is not a Disney character.

    20

  • #
    Dave in the States

    It is goal post moving. After 20 years global warming failed to materialize as predicted, so the crisis was changed to climate change. The climate always changes so they can’t lose. Now they claim any weather (or even political) event as evidence of climate change. So normal-and extreme weather events from time to time are normal- are all evidence of their claims. Whatever is needed to keep the farce going.

    40

  • #
    • #
      el gordo

      Having a chat with my neighbour, reckons he is paying 40 cents a litre for water. As you can appreciate 90% of the cost is for the transport of the H2O to his property.

      There was anger in his voice, a political ground swell of seathing discontent.

      10

    • #
      el gordo

      “We found that [in] the most recent period, the rainfall in the south is quite unusual – we’re getting less rainfall, especially during the cool season,” Freund says.

      The intensification of the subtropical ridge was a global warming signal, but that came to an end during the Austral winter of 2017. You will notice SWWA is receiving normal winter rains, so I’m calling Freund out on this deceit.

      10

    • #
      el gordo

      “The other thing we found, specifically for northern Australia in the warm season, it’s getting wetter than ever before.”

      The wet season is becoming wetter, I think that can be explained as a natural occurrence, but more research is needed.

      00

  • #
    theRealUniverse

    Also ‘weather’ isnt climate. Weather is short term events due to atmospheric processes, (and solar influence). Climate is a slow variation of conditions, also caused by solar – long term cycles. Not that that fact should get in the way of media brainwashing.
    The term ‘climate change’ used (by the alarmists etc.) to replace ‘global warming’ [not happening] is obvious.

    30

  • #
    Ve2

    Climate statistics are in the same league as cricket statistics.

    It’s never been done by a Vicars son on a a Wednesday afternoon.

    00

  • #
    neil

    This is a tactic the BoM has been employing for the past decade and the ABC and Fairfax love to spread the deception.

    It goes like this:

    Step 1 – Climate models predict this will be the hottest, driest, worst whatever disaster season ever.

    Step 2 – Daily forecasts are always about 2 degC above what is actually achieved but nobody goes back and compares the forecasts to the actuals. This makes people feel that the weather is hotter, drier, worse than it actually was.

    Step 3 – When an anomaly occurs it’s “The hottest, driest, worst for 20, 50, 100 years.” Avoid pointing out that that means it was hotter, drier, worse whatever years ago.

    Step 4 – When it was not the hottest, driest, worst whatever disaster season ever, don’t tell anyone and announce that climate models predict this will be the hottest, driest, worst whatever disaster season ever.

    Step 5 – Repeat.

    This re-enforces to the lay person that we are experiencing the hottest, driest, worst whatever disaster season ever, even though we aren’t.

    40

  • #
    Dean

    I find it strange that 20% of people who have been in a tornado don’t think they have been.

    20