The impact of local temperature volatility on attention to climate change : evidence from Spanish tweets

Mumenthaler, Christian (Haute école de gestion de Genève, HES-SO // Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale ; University of Geneva, Switzerland) ; Renaud, O. (University of Geneva, Switzerland) ; Gava, R. (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) ; Brosch, T. (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Variability in local weather patterns has long been suggested as a major barrier impeding laypeople from recognizing long-term climate trends. However, as humans are able to detect and interpret rapid signal fluctuations, it seems psychologically plausible to assume that they are able to integrate short-term variations of weather variables into their mental representations of climate change. Using a combined analysis of social media and weather station data, here we investigated the impact of the short-term volatility of local temperature on climate change-related tweets from 2014 to 2017. We found a nonlinear hockey stick relationship between weekly temperature volatility and climate change-related tweets, a volatility rise of 1 °C corresponds to an 82% increase in climate change tweets when volatility is above 3.5 °C. This volatility effect was observed from 2016 onwards, suggesting a recent change in people’s mental representations of climate change. This study provides empirical evidence illustrating that in the public mind, climate change may not be represented as a mere temperature increase any more, but as a disruption of the climate system in general.


Keywords:
Article Type:
scientifique
Faculty:
Economie et Services
School:
HEG - Genève
Institute:
CRAG - Centre de Recherche Appliquée en Gestion
Subject(s):
Sciences de l'information
Date:
2021-07
Pagination:
10 p.
Published in:
Global environmental change
Numeration (vol. no.):
2021, vol. 68, article 102286, pp. 1-10
DOI:
ISSN:
0959-3780
Appears in Collection:



 Record created 2021-06-01, last modified 2021-06-07

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