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Eye on the Storm community members care about climate change and protecting their loved ones, survey shows » Yale Climate Connections

When hurricane season rolls around, Eye on the Storm community members like you log on to learn from meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson. You also learn from each other. This community actively watches the tropics and checks in on its members in the comments section of Eye on the Storm posts.

In order to better understand and serve your community, the Yale Climate Connections team conducted a survey of Eye on the Storm readers in September 2022. The two-week survey launched on the website Sept. 16, when Tropical Storm Fiona was active. During the survey period, Fiona gained hurricane status and made devastating landfalls in Puerto Rico and later in Canada.

During the second week of the survey period, Hurricane Ian was approaching landfall in Cuba and ultimately made landfall in Florida as a category 4 storm, causing widespread storm surge and destruction. Coverage of Ian generated record traffic to Eye on the Storm.

In all, 5,542 of you took the survey. The results paint a picture of the community and why you engage with Eye on the Storm articles.

High belief in climate change among the Eye on the Storm community

Our colleagues at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication regularly survey the U.S. public about their opinions on climate change.* We asked you many of the same questions. The results show that you, as a community, are more alarmed about climate change than the general public.

  • Eighty-four percent of you think that global warming is happening, higher than the comparable figure for the general public (72%).
  • Eighty-one percent think that global warming is affecting the weather in your country, compared to 63% of U.S. residents.
  • Seventy-five percent of you discuss global warming with your friends and family at least occasionally — meaning that you talk about it far more often than the U.S. population. Only 33% of U.S. residents discuss global warming at least occasionally.

Many of you live in hurricane risk zones

Most respondents to the September 2022 survey were from the U.S., and many were from Florida. You came from 68 countries, and 88% of you were from the United States. The second-most common country was Canada, with 79 people, and 120 people responded from Caribbean countries.

Of the respondents from the United States, 36% were from Florida. The next-most common state was Texas, with 7.5% of you reporting you live there. Both states frequently experience hurricanes, which likely explains why so many survey participants reside in those places.

Many Eye on the Storm community members live in hurricane-risk zones. Seventy-nine percent of you are at least a little worried about hurricanes hitting your area, and 38% are very worried. Eighty-four percent of you have loved ones or other personal ties to hurricane-prone areas.

Community members rely on Eye on the Storm posts to help them make decisions about how to stay safe.

In previous surveys and focus groups, Eye on the Storm community members described an appreciation of the quality of posts by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson. You said that consistent and clear reporting by Masters and Henson had created a high level of trust, and many of you rely on their posts to make critical decisions during storms.

When you were asked how much you agree or disagree that Eye on the Storm helped you feel more prepared for hurricanes in their area, 79.5% of you responded that you at least “somewhat agree.”

Eye on the Storm posts also helped people make decisions about evacuations. Twenty-nine percent (1,155) of respondents said they evacuated as a result of a tropical cyclone in the last five years. Of those who had evacuated, many used Eye on the Storm posts to help them make important decisions about when, how, and where to evacuate.

Some of you also said that Eye on the Storm posts inspire you to take action on climate change.

  • Forty-one percent at least somewhat agreed that the Eye on the Storm website inspired you to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Forty-six percent at least somewhat agreed that the Eye on the Storm website helped you to have conversations with friends or family about climate change.
  • Forty-five percent at least somewhat agreed that the Eye on the Storm website motivated you to make improvements to your home that will help you adapt to climate change, such as building a rain garden, elevating coastal property, or cutting down trees that could fall on the house.

What’s next?

The Yale Climate Connections team is excited to continue to work with you to understand what you want to know about hurricanes and expand our coverage of other types of extreme weather.

Additionally, our team will experiment with different ways of packaging urgent information so that you can easily share it with friends and family in the path of extreme weather.

What do you think? Are you surprised by any of the survey findings? We’re eager to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

*Editor’s note: The Yale Program on Climate Communication is the publisher of this site.

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