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Research has led to broad agreement among scientists that anthropogenic climate change is happening now and likely to worsen. In contrast to scientific agreement, US public views remain deeply divided, largely along ideological lines. Science communication has been neutralised in some arenas by intense counter-messaging, but as adverse climate impacts become manifest they might intervene more persuasively in local perceptions. We look for evidence of this occurring with regard to realities and perceptions of flooding in the northeastern US state of New Hampshire. Although precipitation and flood damage have increased, with ample news coverage, most residents do not see a trend. Nor do perceptions about past and future local flooding correlate with regional impacts or vulnerability. Instead, such perceptions follow ideological patterns resembling those of global climate change. That information about the physical world can be substantially filtered by ideology is a common finding from sociological environment/society research.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Hamilton, L.C., C.P. Wake, J. Hartter, T.G. Safford & A. Puchlopek. 2016. “Flood realities,perceptions, and the depth of divisions on climate.” Sociology 50:913–933. doi: 10.1177/0038038516648547
© The Author(s) 2016