Cold Winters Warming? Perceptions of Climate Change in the North Country

Academic Article


  • Abstract Public acceptance of the reality of human-caused climate change has risen gradually in the United States, reflecting cumulative impacts from scientific research and communication, and perhaps also from experienced manifestations such as extreme weather or change to familiar seasons. In the rural North Country of northern New England, a key manifestation of climate change has been warming winters. A 2017 survey asked North Country residents whether they thought that recent winters have been warmer compared with earlier decades. Winter warming, which in this historically snowy region has broad impacts ranging from the economy to everyday life, was recognized by a majority of residents young and old, male and female, with little or much education—but not by the most conservative. Although our winter question does not mention climate change, responses followed patterns similar to a subsequent question about human-caused climate change. Moreover, the partisan gradient in response to both winter and climate questions is steepest among people reporting that most of their friends belong to the same political party. Partisan constraints on perception of a mundane physical reality could limit the scope for weather or climate experiences to alter beliefs among those whose political/social identity favors climate-change rejection.
  • Authors

  • Stampone, Mary
  • Hamilton, Lawrence
  • Lemcke-Stampone, Mary
  • Grimm, Curt
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2018
  • Published In


  • Climate records
  • North America
  • Policy
  • Regression analysis
  • Social Science
  • Societal impacts
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 641
  • End Page

  • 652
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 4