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Rob Dekker

I posted this elsewhere but I think it is more applicable here :

Larry, thank you for posting these public belief findings.
I think your statements to be spot-on, at multiple levels :

On this and other factual questions, it seems likely that many people chose answers derived from their more general beliefs

On this and other factual questions, it seems likely that many people chose answers derived from their more general beliefs
I find evidence in that also on other subjects, such as MH17, Keystone XL, evolution theory and AGW.

On a positive note, mis-beliefs often just go away once evidence is overwhelming. In that regard, I find it encouraging that your survey shows, that the opinion of "climate is changing due to natural causes" is for the first time dipping below 50%.

L. Hamilton

The full article, "Polar facts in the age of polarization" is now open access at Polar Geography:

Here's a sample graphic tracking politicized beliefs about sea ice:

L. Hamilton

Many drivers of polar-region change originate in mid-latitude industrial societies, so public perceptions there matter. Building on earlier surveys of US public knowledge and concern, a series of New Hampshire state surveys over 2011–2015 tracked public knowledge of some basic polar facts. Analysis indicates that these facts subjectively fall into two categories: those that are or are not directly connected to beliefs about climate change. Responses to climate-linked factual questions, such as whether Arctic sea ice area has declined compared with 30 years ago, are politicized as if we were asking for climate-change opinions. Political divisions are less apparent with factual questions that do not suggest climate change, such as whether the North Pole is on land or sea ice. Only 38% of respondents could answer that question correctly, and even fewer (30%) knew or guessed correctly that melting of Greenland and Antarctic land ice, rather than Arctic sea ice, could potentially do the most to raise sea levels. At odds with the low levels of factual knowledge, most respondents say they have a moderate amount or a great deal of understanding about climate change. A combination of low knowledge with high self-assessed understanding characterizes almost half our sample and correlates with political views. The low knowledge/high understanding combination is most prevalent among Tea Party supporters, where it reaches 61%. It also occurs often (60%) among people who do not believe climate is changing. These results emphasize that diverse approaches are needed to communicate about science with people having different configurations of certainty and knowledge.

Bill Fothergill

@ Larry,

Thank you very much for posting the link to the full text. I look forward to reading it over the next few days.

cheers billf

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