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Preparing to adapt: are public expectations in line with climate projections?

A Correction to this article was published on 09 November 2020

This article has been updated


In this study, we compare expressed public expectations of future climate with climate projections. Along with identifying general trends, we examine how demographic and ideological factors, as well as past weather experience, may affect these expectations individuals express. Through our analysis of a state-wide survey of Oklahomans in 2019, we find that Oklahomans, on average, expect a cooler, wetter future than most climate projections suggest. One’s future temperature expectations were significantly related to gender, age, political affiliation, and perceptions about recent temperatures. In particular, females, Democrats, Millennials, and those who thought the past 3 years were hotter than average were more likely to expect warmer futures. Meanwhile, precipitation expectations were significantly related to one’s recent drought and extreme rainfall experience, age, and race. Our results also suggest that expressed expectations of future temperatures are more likely to be influenced by ideological and demographic variables than expectations of future precipitation.

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  • 09 November 2020

    The article Preparing to adapt: are public expectations in line with climate projections? written by Carley M. Eschliman, Emma Kuster, Joseph Ripberger & Adrienne M. Wootten.


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Carley M. Eschliman conducted this research as a part of the National Weather Center’s Research Experience for Undergraduates 2019 program. The authors also received support from the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center as well as the University of Oklahoma’s National Institute for Risk and Resilience.


This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (AGS-1560419; OIA-1301789).

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Correspondence to Carley M. Eschliman.

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The original version of this article was revised due to open access cancellation.

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Eschliman, C.M., Kuster, E., Ripberger, J. et al. Preparing to adapt: are public expectations in line with climate projections?. Climatic Change 163, 851–871 (2020).

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  • Climate change
  • Climate projections
  • Public opinion
  • Climate communication
  • Climate adaptation