As longtime ASIB readers may know, my colleagues and I have been tracking US public perceptions of Arctic change. This started with analysis of questions written by others for the nationwide General Social Survey in 2006 and 2010, then shifted to our own questions placed on another nationwide survey in 2011, and a continuing series of statewide New Hampshire surveys since then. Results have been highlighted in several posts here by Neven (June 2015, August 2013, April 2013) that refer to some of the underlying research articles. Our most recent article, “Polar facts in the age of polarization,” in Polar Geography, is a good source for question wording, analysis and citations to earlier work (write if you want a copy). Figure 1 below updates one of the graphs from that paper, adding data through September 2015.
Our sea ice question reads as follows:
Which of the following three statements do you think is more accurate?
Over the past few years, the ice on the Arctic Ocean in late summer ...
Covers less area than it did 30 years ago.
Declined but then recovered to about the same area it had 30 years ago.
Covers more area than it did 30 years ago.
don’t know/no answer
The top line in Figure 1 tracks the percentage of “less area” responses on surveys from June 2011 to September 2015. A red triangle at far left shows the corresponding percentage from a nationwide survey in 2011, which came in quite close to New Hampshire.