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Do you remember normal weather? Scientists say that most of us do not do it



By Madison Dapcevich

An in-depth analysis of more than 2 billion US publications on Twitter revealed that people had few memories of what they considered a "normal" time, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Generally, people base their judgment on "normal" weather on what has happened in the last two to eight years rather than on climate. This creates a disconnect with historical weather events, potentially obscuring the way people perceive climate change.


"People are facing daily weather conditions, and the current climate is gradually changing the types of weather and their distribution," explained lead author Frances Moore in an interview with EcoWatch. "If something is extreme at some point because of climate change, how fast does it become extreme?"

To answer this question, the UC Davis team has encrypted 2.18 billion geolocated tweets between March 2014 and November 2016 to measure the type of weather people comment on the most. From this, they can deduce what kind of weather people expect and what they think is normal. Although their Twitter survey does not represent a random sample of the US population, Ms. Moore explained that the sample size of her team represented adults, mostly aged 20 to 50 years old.

"We're finding that people have an idea of ​​what's the normal weather for a particular place or season, but that they're adjusting that baseline pretty quickly," Moore said, adding that, if the same time persists, people tend to talk less about it. The authors conclude that people are beginning to consider these "historically extreme" weather conditions as normal, depending on their expectations, their personal memory and their internal prejudices.

The researchers then measured what they called a "feeling rate" or the average measure of how words were used positively or negatively, even after someone had stopped working. refer to the weather. They found that after repeated exposure to certain weather events, people tweet less about the weather but continue to express negative feelings, especially hot or cold events that tend to make people feel bad. more grumpy.

"Even when people stop talking about the weather, these very hot and very cold temperatures have a negative impact on their mood," she said. "People are not really surprised by the weather, but they do not adapt because they always have these negative consequences."

If we forget what happened more than five years ago, researchers warn that people will continue to normalize "historically extreme" weather events and minimize the importance of change. Predicted climate predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change throughout the year.st century will lead to increased global temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and increased intensification of hurricanes and storms. To remedy this, Moore said that a little work might be enough.

"Anything people can do to get data that tells them where they are at this time of year, 100 or 50 years ago – or even as a child – will help them understand," he said. she declared. "We saw [this trend] this year, people's idea of ​​what constitutes cold weather seems to be changing. "

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