(Press-News.org) EAST LANSING, Mich. --- What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds.
But a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar throws cold water on that theory.
Only 35 percent of U.S. citizens believe global warming was the main cause of the abnormally high temperatures during the winter of 2012, Aaron M. McCright and colleagues report in a paper published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
"Many people already had their minds made up about global warming and this extreme weather was not going to change that," said McCright, associate professor in MSU's Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology.
Winter 2012 was the fourth warmest winter in the United States dating back to at least 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some 80 percent of U.S. citizens reported winter temperatures in their local area were warmer than usual.
The researchers analyzed March 2012 Gallup Poll data of more than 1,000 people and examined how individuals' responses related to actual temperatures in their home states. Perceptions of warmer winter temperatures seemed to track with observed temperatures.
"Those results are promising because we do hope that people accurately perceive the reality that's around them so they can adapt accordingly to the weather," McCright said.
But when it came to attributing the abnormally warm weather to global warming, respondents largely held fast to their existing beliefs and were not influenced by actual temperatures.
As this study and McCright's past research shows, political party identification plays a significant role in determining global warming beliefs. People who identify as Republican tend to doubt the existence of global warming, while Democrats generally believe in it.
The abnormally warm winter was just one in an ongoing series of severe weather events - including the 2010 Russian heat wave, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines - that many believed would help start convincing global warming cynics.
"There's been a lot of talk among climate scientists, politicians and journalists that warmer winters like this would change people's minds," McCright said. "That the more people are exposed to climate change, the more they'll be convinced. This study suggests this is not the case."
McCright's co-authors are Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State University and Chenyang Xiao of American University.
Nature Climate Change is part of the Nature Publishing Group, which publishes the flagship journal Nature.
Physicists at the University of Basel have developed a new cooling technique for mechanical quantum systems. Using an ultracold atomic gas, the vibrations of a membrane were cooled down to less than 1 degree above absolute zero. This technique may enable novel studies of quantum physics and precision measurement devices, as the researchers report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Ultracold atomic gases are among the coldest objects in existence. Laser beams can be used to trap atoms inside a vacuum chamber and slow down their motion to a crawl, reaching temperatures ...
Are Italian natural history museums (NHMs) on the verge of collapse? A new analysis published in the open access journal ZooKeys points out that these institutions are facing a critical situation due to progressive loss of scientific relevance, decreasing economic investments and scarcity of personnel.
The study proposes that existing museums associate and collaborate to form a diffused structure, able to better manage their scientific collections and share resources and personnel.
"Italy is universally known for its history, culture, food and art. The list of Italian ...
Scientists from Uppsala University, the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Stockholm and Uppsala University Hospital have developed a new method of rapidly identifying which bacteria are causing an infection and determining whether they are resistant or sensitive to antibiotics. The findings are now being published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
'Clinical use of the method would mean that the right antibiotic treatment could be started straightaway, reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics,' says Professor Dan I. Andersson of Uppsala University, who ...
HOUSTON - (Nov. 24, 2014) - New computer models that show how microtubules age are the first to match experimental results and help explain the dynamic processes behind an essential component of every living cell, according to Rice University scientists.
The results could help scientists fine-tune medications that manipulate microtubules to treat cancer and other diseases. Rice theoretical biophysicist Anatoly Kolomeisky and postdoctoral researcher Xin Li reported their results in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B.
Microtubules are cylinders made of 13 protein strands ...
People with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea may have an intrinsic inability to burn high amounts of oxygen during strenuous aerobic exercise, according to a new study led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
The study, reported in the current issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, shows that people with sleep apnea, in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops during slumber, have a lower peak oxygen uptake during aerobic activity than those who do not suffer from the sleep disorder.
People who suffer from apnea ...
From coral reefs to prairie grasslands, some of the world's most iconic habitats are susceptible to sudden collapse due to seemingly minor events. A classic example: the decimation of kelp forests when a decline of otter predation unleashes urchin population explosions. Three studies published in the Nov. 24 special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Biological Science hold the promise of helping resource managers predict, avoid, and reverse the tipping points that lead to degraded habitats, economic losses, and social upheaval.
The studies are the ...
Good communication between brain cells is vital for optimal (mental) health. Mutations in the TBC1D24 gene inhibit this process, thereby causing neurodegeneration and epilepsy. Fruit flies with a defect in Skywalker, the fruit fly variant of TBC1D24, are being used as a model for neurodegeneration. Researchers from VIB and KU Leuven have succeeded in completely suppressing neurodegeneration in such fruit flies, by partially inhibiting the breakdown of 'defective' proteins in brain cells.
Patrik Verstreken (VIB/KU Leuven): "These unexpected results offer us a new line ...
High-dose interleukin-2 can be effective in selected metastatic renal cell cancer patients pre-treated with VEGF-targeted agents, reveals research presented today at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology in Geneva, Switzerland....
Click here for more information.
Lugano/Geneva, Switzerland, 24 November 2014 - High-dose interleukin-2 can be effective in selected metastatic renal cell cancer patients pre-treated with VEGF-targeted agents, reveals research presented ...
A multi-disciplinary research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has made a breakthrough discovery of a new type of immune cells that may help in the development of a future treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Led by Professor Xin-Yuan Fu, Senior Principal Investigator from CSI Singapore and Professor at the Department of Biochemistry at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and Dr Wanqiang Sheng, post-doctoral fellow at CSI Singapore, the team found that a new type of immune T helper cells named TH-GM cells play a crucial role in the immune system ...
(MEMPHIS, Tenn. - November 24, 2014) Most long-term survivors of retinoblastoma, particularly those who had been diagnosed with tumors by their first birthdays, have normal cognitive function as adults, according to a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital study. The research, which appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer, found that the vast majority of survivors work full time, live independently and fulfill other milestones of adult life.
The study is the first to examine how adult survivors of retinoblastoma fare cognitively and socially decades after their ...