Climatic Change

, Volume 134, Issue 4, pp 533–547

Extreme weather events and climate change concern

  • David M. Konisky
  • Llewelyn Hughes
  • Charles H. Kaylor

DOI: 10.1007/s10584-015-1555-3

Cite this article as:
Konisky, D.M., Hughes, L. & Kaylor, C.H. Climatic Change (2016) 134: 533. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1555-3


This paper examines whether experience of extreme weather events—such as excessive heat, droughts, flooding, and hurricanes—increases an individual’s level concern about climate change. We bring together micro-level geospatial data on extreme weather events from NOAA’s Storm Events Database with public opinion data from multiple years of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study to study this question. We find evidence of a modest, but discernible positive relationship between experiencing extreme weather activity and expressions of concern about climate change. However, the effect only materializes for recent extreme weather activity; activity that occurred over longer periods of time does not affect public opinion. These results are generally robust to various measurement strategies and model specifications. Our findings contribute to the public opinion literature on the importance of local environmental conditions on attitude formation.

Supplementary material

10584_2015_1555_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (135 kb)
(PDF 135 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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