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Rain or shine? Understanding public perceptions of weather and climate risk

Wednesday 9 November 2016, 13.30-14.30
Room 1.06, Maurice Keyworth Building (LUBS)
Andrea Taylor (UAF, LUBS and SEE)
Event type
Climate Exchange seminar

With extreme weather events around the world receiving widespread media attention, understanding how perceptions of weather influence beliefs about climate change is of high importance. In a series of studies, researchers from the University of Leeds and Carnegie Mellon University explored the relationship between public perceptions of weather and beliefs about climate change in the UK and US. Both countries are projected to experience regional increases in the frequency and severity of heatwaves, droughts, and flooding events as a result of climate change. However, this research finds striking differences in the types of weather that residents in the two countries associate with climate change. US residents link climate change with hot, dry weather. UK residents meanwhile predominantly link climate change with heavy rainfall and flooding. Findings also indicate that public expectations about the impacts of climate change differs markedly from expert assessment.

In this talk Dr Andrea Taylor outlines the implications of this work for communicating with public audiences about the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Slides of Dr Taylor’s presentation can be viewed here: climate-exchange-andrea-taylor

View Dr Taylor’s vlog


Dr Andrea Taylor holds a university academic fellowship in decision making and preparedness for extreme weather at the University of Leeds. Coming from a cognitive psychology background, her research focusses on the perception and communication of risk and uncertainty in the context of climate, extreme weather and health. She has worked on various UK and European projects including the Defra funded Programme of Research on Preparedness, Adaptation and Risk (PREPARE), ESRC funded research on heatwave risk perception in the UK, and the FP7 EUPORIAS project, in which she led a work package on communicating uncertainty in seasonal climate forecasts.