Public perceptions of climate change in the immediate aftermath of major national flooding

The research considers the role of extreme weather as a critical influence on people's understanding of climate change. Although a number of studies have looked at how wider meteorological conditions (e.g. day-to-day temperature) can affect people's views on climate change, there is little research that examines the role of extraordinary or extreme weather events in affecting public opinion.
Our research is designed to examine people's perceptions of climate change shortly after the occurrence of major national flooding in parts of the UK in early 2014. We will be carrying out a large survey across Great Britain in the summer of 2014 through which we can measure people's views about the flooding and about climate change, and how these are connected.
Exploring these questions is important for theory in terms of our understanding of how beliefs about climate change are shaped. It is also important for developing strategies for engaging members of the public in addressing the causes of climate change, and for responding to climate impacts. We hope to contribute to the development of more effective climate science communication in ways that take account of the complex linkages between extreme weather and climate change.
Stuart Capstick, Cardiff University
Christina Demski, Cardiff University
Adam Corner, Cardiff University
Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University
(also Alexa Spence, Nottingham University – though not Tyndall-affiliated)
June 2014 – May 2015