2014, The “year without a summer” in Italy: news media coverage and implications for the climate change debate
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In 2014, there was virtually no summer in northern and central-southern Italy. Storm after storm battered the peninsula, triggering floods and landslides from Veneto to Puglia. We studied the coverage of “the year without a summer” in Italy by analyzing the content of 171 news articles from two influential online newspapers. Our software-based analysis enabled us to observe that the two newspapers hardly ever mentioned climate change in their coverage of the weather anomaly that affected Italy in the summer of 2014. This type of coverage is in line with climate science, according to which there is no evidence of a climate change-related influence on summer precipitation patterns in Southern Europe—whereas such influence has been documented for northern Europe. We compared our results with a recent paper, which documented that the same online dailies chose to represent the particularly hot summer of 2012 in Italy as a direct consequence of climate change. We corroborated this comparison also on the basis of a preliminary analysis we performed on the media coverage of the exceptionally hot and arid summer of 2015 in Italy.
KeywordsClimate change Summer 2014 Italy Weather Media TalTac2 Coverage
We would like to acknowledge three anonymous reviewers for their challenging and helpful suggestions that significantly improved the quality of this work.
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